Former justice minister Alan Shatter has launched a scathing attack on Transport Minister Shane Ross, accusing him of “bombastic fakery” and “fantasy politics” over his plans to reopen Stepaside Garda Station.
Mr Shatter lashed out at his constituency rival as he refused to rule out running in the next general election, saying he has yet to decide whether to try and win back the seat he lost in 2016.
Speaking on RTÉ radio, Mr Shatter said that despite Mr Ross’s promises to re-open Stepaside Garda Station, the new plan appears to be to put a “modular or prefab” building in its place.
Criticising the move as inadequate and proof there is no clear need to bring back the station, Mr Shatter claimed people who are concerned about crime in the area have been used by “fakery” and “fantasy politics” in recent years.
“But what we’ve really had [with the Stepaside debate] has been five years of bombastic fakery. My beef is I’ve really genuine concerns about the manner good people who have real concerns about crime have over the years been grievously misled.
“It will take years to make [the station] functional, there have been a series of fake announcements of the reopening, and the latest one is the so-called modular building they’re planning. This is going from the bizarre to the ridiculous.”
Mr Shatter denied the row between him and Mr Ross has become personal, saying “he doesn’t get under my skin at all” and claiming his concerns are based on the “fantasy politics” at the centre of the Stepaside debate.
Asked if he would consider running in the Dublin Rathdown constituency where Stepaside is based, Mr Shatter refused to rule out the move.
Mr Shatter’s intervention has been seen as the clearest indication yet he will seek to win back his Dáil seat in the next general election.
The constituency’s three seats are held by Fine Gael TD and Culture Minister Josepha Madigan, Green Party TD Catherine Martin, and Mr Ross, who, it is believed, may be vulnerable in the area if the reopening of the garda station is delayed.
Mr Shatter lost his seat in 2016.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved