Research by Gardai being considered to ‘future proof’ area

By Mary Dennehy

GARDA authorites are ‘considering’ how to conduct ‘more analytical research’ into the needs of the Rathcoole sub-district, in order to ‘future proof’ this fast expanding area.

Last September, a letter was sent by South Dublin County Council on behalf of elected members to Justice Minister, Helen McEntee TD, after a motion by independent Dublin Mid-West councillor Francis Timmons was passed.

Rathcoole Garda Station 1 1

Rathcoole Garda Station

Accoring to the motion passed: “Rathcoole, Newcastle and Saggart is one of the fastest growing areas in our county.

“Unfortunately, recent reports has seen an increase in crime in the area.”

The members of the Clondalkin Area Committee agreed to write to the Minister for Justice, asking for an increase in Garda numbers in the area – and to make Rathcoole Garda Station a full-time station.

Rathcoole Garda Station is a sub-district station, open to the public between 10am to 6pm daily.

Information available on the Department of Justice’s website shows how at the end of November 2020, Rathcoole Garda Station had 18 gardai and one Sergeant.

Rathcoole is a sub-station of Clondalkin Garda Station, which at the end of November 2020 is reported, on the Department of Justice website, as having 123 staff.

While Rathcoole falls into the Clondalkin district, its nearest station is Tallaght.

According to correspondence recently received from Minister McEntree’s office, in reply to elected members letter: “The next nearest station is Tallaght Garda Station, located 8km away. 

“At present there is a divide in responsibility for policing in this area located between Tallaght and Rathcoole sub-districts.

“Existing boundaries, not evident to the general population add to the confusion and demands of local electoral representives on the need for improved resources and delivery of an effective policing service.”

According to the correspondence, a comparison study between Rathcoole and a sub district with similar demographics was undertaken by An Garda Siochana, which provided a ‘realistic indication’ of the number of Garda resources required for the area.

Information on this ‘realistic indication’ was not detailed in the  letter received from the Minister’s office -which noted how the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the deployment of resources within an Garda Siochana.

In recent years, the need for a fully resourced Garda station in Rathcoole has been on the community’s agenda, as Rathcoole, Newcastle and Saggart record a population incease.

In Census 2016, Saggart was branded the country’s fastest growing town, with its population increasing by more than 50 per cent between 2011 (3,060) and 2016 (4,640).

Towards the end of the Minister’s correspondence, it states: “The Minister is further advised by the Garda authorities that they are considering how to conduct more analytical research into the needs of the district, in order to future proof policing in this fast expanding area of the Dublin Metropolitan Region.

“Such a measure would provide reassurance to communities and allow for planning for the needs of the area into the future.

“The Minister has asked to be kept informed of any further research that is conducted on this matter by an Garda Siochana.”

Cllr Timmons has welcomed the appointment of dedicated community police in Rathcoole, but believes the station needs to be open 24 hours.

“The analytical research into the area is to be welcomed but many have simply stopped reporting crime citing a lack of effective response and they now need to regain trust in the systems in place , overall the response to my motion signals that it’s going in the right direction and I welcome this and will continue to lobby for additional resources and work with the community Guards”, Cllr Timmons said.

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