Concern mounts for Dublin city centre as gardaí to be redeployed
Inner-city gardaí to be moved to Dublin Port ahead of Brexit, government meeting hears
Gardaí are to be moved to Dublin Port due to Brexit ‘uncertainty’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins
The Dublin north inner city regeneration project has expressed concern at a drop in gardaí stationed in the area, due to officers being redeployed to Dublin Port in preparation for Brexit.
Secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach, Martin Fraser, chairs the regeneration task force, and raised concerns over the impact of Brexit on policing levels in the inner city during a meeting in February.
Chief Supt of Store Street Garda Station, Sean Ward, told the meeting that extra officers had to be moved to Dublin Port, to prepare for the “uncertainty” of Brexit, according to one source present.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Fraser said “there was a need to maintain garda numbers in the area, in light of recent promotions and additional staffing requirements in Dublin Port resulting from Brexit,” according to the minutes.
Following a discussion the task force agreed An Garda Síochána would be asked to review the numbers stationed in the inner city area. Minutes of the February 11th meeting were released to The Irish Times, following a request under the Freedom of Information act.
The task force was set up by former taoiseach Enda Kenny, following the outbreak of the Hutch-Kinahan gangland feud, and it includes senior civil servants from a dozen departments and agencies. The group meet in Government Buildings, often in the Sycamore Room.
There has been 51 additional gardaí assigned to the inner city in recent years, as part of the regeneration plan.
To date An Garda Síochána has refused to comment on any preparations being made ahead of Britain’s exit from the European Union, or planned contingencies in the event of a return to a hard Border.
Previously Garda Commissioner Drew Harris dismissed reports of plans to move 600 gardaí to the Border in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as “entirely incorrect”.
A Garda spokeswoman would not comment on the indication that additional gardaí were being redeployed to Dublin Port in anticipation of Brexit.
“It is not possible to comment in detail at this stage on the impact of Brexit on policing and security until there is a political settlement,” the spokeswoman said.
Michael O’Riordan, a programme officer with the north Dublin regeneration project, said the inner city had received significant extra Garda resources in recent years.
In the event garda numbers stationed in the inner city area dropped due to Brexit demands elsewhere, the task force would likely request additional resources to top numbers back up, he said.
Uncertainty continues to surround when the UK will leave the EU, as British prime minister Theresa May has been unable to find a majority in the House of Commons for her deal on the terms of leaving. In the face of a continued political stalemate Mrs May is expected to seek a further extension from the EU to the current departure date on April 12th, rather than leave with no deal.
The reopening of Fitzgibbon Street Garda station is a key priority of the taskforce. In August the Office of Public Works sought a main contractor to carry out full a refurbishment on the station, with initial works to strip the old interior of the building already underway.