Labour back GRA calls for a special task force on violence against Gardaí

21 February 2023
  • Pay and conditions must be addressed to resolve recruitment crisis

Labour justice spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has called for a taskforce on violence against Gardaí to address the increase in attacks against members of the force.

Speaking today, Deputy Ó Ríordáin said there are also legislative changes needed to update crimes against members of An Garda Síochána to address abuse on social media platforms.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“Fine Gael continue to let Gardaí intervene in situations at a time when the Force as a whole is totally under resourced. Levels of people entering the Force continue to drop – only 136 of an expected 200 started their training yesterday. Labour is backing GRA calls for a special taskforce on An Garda Síochána to deal with attacks against Gardaí, and the consistent and persistent issues impacting on the recruitment of members.

“There has been a marked increase in attacks on members of the Gardaí in the local communities that they police and urgent action is needed to quell this behaviour. As recently as yesterday, Gardaí were attacked by people in Ballyfermot after they tried to intervene and help an elderly woman. It’s disgraceful and unfortunately it’s becoming a more regular occurrence.

“The level of physical and online abuse Gardaí are subjected to must be a key priority of such a taskforce. As well as experiencing abusive behaviour on the beat, members of An Garda Síochána are reporting a marked increase in online abuse across a wide range of social media platforms.

“The Public Order Act 1994 needs to be reviewed and revised in this context, as it does not include the offense of abuse on social media platforms.

“Gardaí do tremendous work on a daily basis amid the dangers that they face. It’s simply not good enough that members of the force continue to suffer just because Fine Gael have gone soft on crime.

“We know that more and more Gardaí are opting to leave the force as it is simply unsustainable work. I am calling on the Justice Minister to introduce exit interviews to gather insights and information on the many ways in which we can improve the work and conditions of Gardaí.

“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. However, if Fine Gael continue to sit on their hands about the issue of abuse and harassment Gardaí are experiencing, we will see a total depletion of the Force before too long.”

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