In February 2013, the government inexplicably announced that they would be closing Stepaside Garda station. I was out with the residents then, protesting their right to feel safe in their own home.
Three years on, I am still fighting for the station to be reopened. On January 24th 2016 I stood in front of the residents of Stepaside and once again called for the reopening of the station.
The community spirit is still strong and it was great to see how many people were willing to come out and call for change.
However, nobody attending the protest were surprised that this government has done absolutely nothing to stem the tide of crime that is affecting this area, and are displaying an arrogant indifference to its plight.
Residents feel as if they have been abandoned by this current government. Just before Christmas, we learned that burglaries in Dublin were up 25%. This is a frightening figure, considering how much press and media has been generated highlighting the issue.
Dublin Rathdown was hit extremely hard by this crime wave, and the DMR Eastern division Garda saw a 42% increase year on year increase.You would think these figures would have inspired some meaningful action.Actions that would actually deter people, and enable people to feel safe in their own homes.
However, time and time again the people of Dublin Rathdown are let down by empty promises and political rhetoric that would border on laughable if it wasn’t affecting so many people.
Burglary gangs are running amok, and have been for years – yet this government has cut Gardai numbers in the DMR Eastern Garda Division by 20%.
This means that between October 2010 – 2015 we have lost 98 Gardaí – a fact that has not been lost on the burglars’ who have been actively taking advantage of the situation.
Families should not have to endure their homes being violated in such a way. They should not live in constant fear.
Stepaside had 31 Gardai in 2010.
We now have none.
They say this is smart policing?
Burglaries are up 80% in the past two years in Stepaside.
And we are yet to see a single “smart” result from this “smart” policing.
What is really worrying is that all of the above is fact. It is not my opinion or dramatic take on the situation – it is simply the truth.
And something needs to be done about it, and fast.
My Pledge for Stepaside
I am firmly is committed to reopening Stepaside Garda Station, and I have secured a pledge from Fianna Fail to reopen the station should we regain office.
Strengthen Gardai Numbers We are committed to increasing the strength of An Garda Siochána to 15,000 and to the doubling of the Garda Reserve to 2,500.
And if they double down and do it again and again then we should hike the sentences further and stick them with seven years minimum on a third conviction.
Electronic Tagging Electronic tagging is another tool that we can use in battling this burglary epidemic.
I just don’t understand how there are just 3 offenders who are tagged in Ireland – and all 3 of them are in hospital.
Currently there are just three offenders tagged in Ireland – and all are in hospital. In the UK, up to 30,000 are tagged at any one time – around 100,000 are tagged every year.
Tagging has been allowed for since 2007 but the relevant provision has not been enacted to date – at a time when it is needed most.
This government has presided over the worst burglary crises that Stepaside has ever faced – and I will do everything in my power to bring about the change that is needed.
Everybody who knows me knows that I don’t take no for an answer when it comes to issues that affect my constituents.
But we need to do this together.
Let’s bring our Gardai back to Stepaside.