STEPASIDE SETS A BAD PRECEDENT
BACK in February, the Independent Alliance grouping demanded the setting-up of an independent review on the implementation of reform within An Garda Síochána as the price for its continued involvement in the Government. This led to the Commission on the Future of Policing being announced.
At the time, when I wrote about that development in this newspaper, I said that I would be keeping my eye on progress regarding the promised reopening of certain Garda stations.
I referred to the fact that the Programme for Government had stated that the Policing Authority would be mandated to oversee a review of the boundaries of Garda districts and of the ‘disbursement of Garda stations’. Then I questioned how Shane Ross could reconcile his crusade against what he termed the ‘decades of political cronyism in judicial and other appointments’ with his campaign to have Stepaside Garda Station re-opened.
I was uneasy about the possibility that a minister, or indeed any public representative, could pressurise Garda management to open a Garda station in one area as opposed to another.
Nothing I have heard in the meantime, especially in the last week or so, has allayed my unease in this respect. To be seen to allocate Garda resources on the basis of political expediency is an extremely bad precedent.