Fine Gael gone soft on crime – worrying decrease in Gardai numbers

13 February 2023

Labour justice spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has expressed his deep concern at Garda personnel figures reported in the Irish Independent today.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said the party of law and order has presided over the near total collapse of the frontline Garda numbers.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“It is deeply concerning to learn the depths of the crisis in An Garda Síochana. There has been a near nationwide drop in terms of staffing levels in individual stations, as well as a decrease in numbers joining the force – dropping to 13,907 in November 2022, from 14,750 in March 2020.

“Fine Gael have serious questions to answer about the working conditions and career progression opportunities for Gardaí.

“Minister Harris must intrsuct his department to examine the reason behind the drop off in new members. Labour is also calling on the Department to carry out a review of the division of resources to ensure that tax payers money is spent as effectively as possible.

“Fine Gael need to explain why the people of Ireland are being left without adequate policing.

“In Labour’s Alternative Budget published in September 2022, we called for the recruitment of an additional 800 trainees to help tackle the increase in anti-social behaviour, home burglaries and serious incidents of crime.

“Indeed as well as the additional numbers of Gardai needed, Labour also budgeted to provide enough funding to meet the request of an additional net 429 civilian staff, thus freeing up more frontline Gardai to patrol our streets and keep our communities safe.

“People in all parts of Ireland, rural and urban, want to feel safe and they want to feel secure in their own homes. They want to be able to walk around their own areas without fear, and they want assurance that if there is an emergency situation, that members of An Garda Siochana are in a position to come to their assistance in a timely manner.

“There must be an assessment of why we find ourselves in the position we do with these declining figures in the Force. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil can’t continue to haemorrhage members of the Force in the manner in which they currently are.”

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