From Shane Phelan Irish Independent
THREE Garda stations closed as a result of government cuts are expected to reopen in the coming months.

The refurbished stations in Stepaside and Rush in Co Dublin are to be handed over to the Garda by the end of September, according to the Office of Public Works (OPW).

A third station, in Ballinspittle, Co Cork, is also expected to be handed over by the end of the year.

However, progress with the reopening of two more stations has been slower.

The OPW said planning permission would be needed before proposed works at former stations in Bawnaboy, Co Cavan, and Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow, could proceed.

The stations were all among 139 closed between 2012 and 2013. Many closures proved controversial, with local groups vocal in campaigning for the stations to reopen.

However, only six stations were chosen to reopen. One, in Donard, Co Wicklow, was operational again last March.

The closure of Stepaside garda station became a major political issue in the area amid a reported spike in break-ins and population growth.

Its reopening was a key demand of Transport Minister Shane Ross when the Independent Alliance joined the Government.

Mr Ross visited the station yesterday with OPW Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran. “It will be battle-ready in the coming weeks,” the minister said.