Dáil Éireann - Volume 300 - 26 October, 1977

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Stations.

37. Mr. B. Desmond asked the Minister for Justice if he has received representations from the Bellevue and District Residents' Association, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, proposing the establishment of a new Garda station at Sallynoggin/Glenageary, County Dublin; and if his Department intend to take any action in the matter.

Mr. G. Collins: I received representations, on the lines indicated in the Question, from the Bellevue and District Residents' Association and I replied to them on 25th August last.

The Garda Siochana consider that the provision of a station in the area would not be warranted, bearing in mind that the existing stations at Kill O'Grange and Cabinteely are only one-and-a-half and two miles respectively from the area. I understand that the complaints relate mainly to certain activities of some members of itinerant families camped on private property in the area and this, as the Deputy will appreciate, presents difficulties for the Garda. They will, however, continue to do all they can to minimise the grounds for complaint, and policing arrangements for the coverage of the area will be fully reviewed when extra manpower becomes available for assignment to the various centres.

38. Mr. Clinton asked the Minister for Justice if he is aware of the serious concern felt by the residents in the Athy area of County Kildare because the Garda station in Athy is unmanned between the hours of 1.30 a.m. and 10.00 a.m.; and if he will take steps to meet the people's wishes by having the station manned at all times.

Mr. G. Collins: The Garda Síochána have indicated that the present opening hours of Athy station have been so fixed as to enable the station party to carry out the maximum amount of the more important outdoor police duties, while maintaining an adequate office service. They do not consider that an extension of the opening hours [1250] would be justified at present, but the matter will be kept under review.

Mr. Clinton: Could I ask the Minister if he is aware of the widespread concern and disagreement with the view held about having important stations unmanned throughout the night, about the fact that nobody really knows where to contact the Garda Siochana quickly in case of trouble, and if there was somebody in the station it would be possible to make contact very quickly?

Mr. G. Collins: What the Deputy suggests would be very desirable in practice in every police station in the country, but unfortunately it is not so, and the Deputy understands the reason for it as well as I do. I understand that there was one request over the last 12 months for an increase in Garda strength in the area. I understand from the Commissioner that he considers the present opening hours of the station as adequate, having regard to the available strength and the needs of the outdoor service; he does not recommend an extension in the opening hours.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. G. Collins: I gather that when the station is closed——

Dr. Byrne: May I ask if the Minister is aware——

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy will please wait and resume his seat.

Dr. Byrne: Would the Minister indicate the appreciation that the Irish people have for the members of the Garda Siochana?

Mr. G. Collins: I understand that when the station is closed a notice is placed in the window directing the public to communicate with Carlow Garda Station which is 11½ miles away, and matters requiring attention in Athy are then attended to by the Carlow patrol car if available, otherwise by the Naas patrol car. I understand that in cases of urgency people usually contact members of the Athy station party at their homes and the [1251] local members then attend to the matter. In addition the patrol car allocated to Athy is in operation at weekends until 2.30 a.m. when considered necessary. That is the position.

39. Mr. Horgan asked the Minister for Justice the area within the general responsibility of the Garda station at Shankill, County Dublin on (a) 1st September, 1967, and (b) 1st September, 1977; the number of gardaí attached to the station on each of these dates; and the approximate population of the area in question on each of the dates.

Mr. G. Collins: The area within the general responsibility of Shankill Garda Station, which has not changed since 1st September, 1967, can most conveniently be described by listing the townlands concerned. These total 19 and, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to have a list of them circulated with the Official Report.

The strength of Shankill Garda Station on 1st September, 1967, was seven; on 1st September, 1977, it was 15. The population of the sub-district on those dates is estimated at 6,300 and 15,000, respectively.

Following is the list referred to:—

Townlands in Shankill Sub-District.

1. Aske.

2. Ballyman.

3. Corke Great.

4. Corke Little.

5. Old Connaught.

6. Ballycorus.

7. Glebe.

8. Johnston.

9. Rathmichael.

10. Shanganagh.

11. Shankill.

12. Ballinalea (Urban Part).

13. Rocheshill.

14. Ballybrack.

15. Hacketsland.

16. Kilbogget (Urban Part).

17. Loughlinstown (Urban Part).

18. Loughlinstown Common.

19. Killiney.

Mr. Horgan: Would the Minister agree that those figures indicate the need for substantially greater policing in that area than is at present supplied by the Garda?

[1252] Mr. G. Collins: I believe there is need for a greater number of gardaí not alone in Dublin and Shankill but in many other parts of the country and I am doing something definite about easing the situation as of now.

Mr. Horgan: Will the Minister not accept that the effective strength of that station is reduced because many of the gardaí there have to go on permanent guard duty for security reasons on certain houses in the area? Can he let us know when an increase can be expected?

Mr. G. Collins: I would like to think —and this is primarily a matter for the Garda Commissioner—that when there are more gardaí available to him as there will be by Christmas he will look at the needs of Shankill and if possible provide extra manpower.

An Ceann Comhairle: The remaining questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.