REVELATIONS that a Castlederg PSNI Station is be retained in the face of Brexit have engendered mixed responses from local leaders.
Previously identified for disposal, the Castlederg police station is one of three across the North confirmed to have been retained along with stations in Aughnacloy and Warrenpoint, which according to PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, is a “precautionary step.”
Brexit has returned the Irish border to the centre of Anglo-Irish politics and it is still unclear what it will look like when the UK leaves the EU.
Ulster Unionist councillor and new deputy mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Derek Hussey welcomed the move.
“Clearly this decision has come in the light of a lack of progress towards post-Brexit arrangements in regard to the border to be operated generally between the European Union and the United Kingdom and particularly along our international frontier with the Republic of Ireland,” he said.
“PSNI are suggesting that they could need in the region of 300 additional officers to police this border. A police presence being re-located back in our community would also undoubtedly offer greater reassurance to those vulnerable, elderly and isolated members of our community.”
However, Sinn Féin’s Ruairí McHugh has reacted angrily to the plans.
“The heavily militarised Castlederg PSNI station remains a blot on the landscape and the vast majority of people of this area were delighted to see its closure and very much looking forward to this massive site in the centre of the town to being positively utilised for the economic and social regeneration of the area.
“The very fact that this Brexit border security plan is being formulated is a glaring contradiction of the so-called ‘cast iron’ guarantees being given by Theresa May and her Tory government that there will be no hard border or physical border controls of any description post Brexit.”
According to PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, the decision is a “precautionary step.”
“In light of the UK Referendum vote to leave the EU, we are reviewing decisions we previously made about some of our stations identified for disposal,” he said. “As the PSNI has not yet received details regarding potential border arrangements, this is a precautionary step to ensure that, whatever Brexit looks like in the future, we will be able to continue to keep our communities safe.”
Posted: 3:29 pm June 17, 2018