Clarification sought from Justice Minister over Garda station pledge for north Dublin – Mitchell
Sinn Féin Dublin Bay North TD Denise Mitchell has called on Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to confirm reports which emerged yesterday stating that there will be an increase in the number of Gardaí based at Coolock Garda station along with plans for a new Garda station at Northern Cross.
Deputy Mitchell, who has been campaigning for an increase in resources for Coolock and a new station in to serve the Clongriffin area, said she hopes these reported plans will be confirmed and that they are not just a pre-election stunt from a Government which has consistently ignored calls for action on this matter since 2011.
Speaking on Wednesday, Deputy Mitchell said:
“The reports that there is to be an increase in Garda strength along with a new garda station are welcome. This is something that I have been consistently calling for over the last number of years.
“Earlier this year, I wrote to the Garda Commissioner outlining the situation in Dublin Bay North and, in particular, the shortage of gardaí on the ground. I also expressed serious concern over the slashing of the number of gardaí assigned to the local anti-drugs unit, the shortage of community gardaí, and a failure to replace decommissioned garda vehicles in a timely manner. I further highlighted the calls from many local community and residents’ groups for a new Garda station to cover the ever-expanding ‘northern fringe’ area of the city which includes Clongriffin, Belmayne, and other growing residential areas. I hope that we are finally seeing some of these concerns being addressed.”
Reacting to reports emerging from the meeting, to which only Government TDs were invited, Deputy Mitchell said:
“While these reported plans are welcome, it is very unfortunate that it took these horrific killings for this Government to sit up and listen to the concerns of local representatives and local community leaders who are on the ground in these communities, day-in and day-out.
“In their response to me in January, I was disappointed to hear the Garda Commissioner’s office say there are no plans for a new Garda station for Clongriffin under the current capital investment plan. I hope that today's news is not another cynical PR exercise by the Fine Gael-led Government and I will be pressing the Minister over the next few weeks to ensure he follows through on a new Garda station and an increased Garda presence in the area. We also need to see a timeline for this process.
“The Government must also recognise that an increase in gardaí alone will not solve these problems. Youth programmes, community organisations and local sports clubs require supports and funding in order to identify and work with young people who are at risk of falling into criminality. For far too long, working class communities have been ignored by Fine Gael and their supporters in the Labour and Fianna Fáil parties. We need a broad-based approach to deal with these challenges.”
Note: Deputy Mitchell contacted the Garda Press Office seeking clarification on these reports. The Garda Press Office has forwarded the query to the Office of the Garda Commissioner and we are awaiting a reply.