FRT legislation latest distraction

26 November 2023

Labour justice spokesperson Aodhan O Riordain said the Justice Minister must stop producing legislation in an attempt to deflect from serious issues in justice.

Deputy O Riordain said there has been a consistent pattern of announcing legislation to distract people from the key issues of a lack of resources for frontline workers like Gardai.

Deputy O Riordain said:

“Ramming legislation through the Dail without proper debate is not the solution to what we witnessed on Thursday evening. There has been a building series of missteps in justice, and there are serious questions now for the Justice Minister, Fine Gael and the whole of Government.

“The failure to recall the Dail tomorrow further highlights Fine Gael’s desire to govern by press release.

“Events on Thursday have left the capital and the country in shock. The public rightly want answers as to what went wrong, and how we can learn from this.

“There has been a consistent and persistent drop in Garda numbers under Fine Gael’s watch. The people of Ireland have been left without adequate policing. We saw the absolute worst case scenario unfold on the streets of Dublin on Thursday evening.

“In October, the Minister attempted to pull the wool over our eyes on Garda recruitment issues, announcing an increase in the age limits for those seeking to join the force. Both the Minister and her Government colleagues know that this will not work.

“For too long, Government have failed to give the attention and resources that are clearly lacking in An Garda Síochána. Responses to Parliamentary Questions reveal a huge exodus of people from the force – 114 resignations to date this year. That compares with only 70 three years ago.

“There has been a range of well documented industrial relations issues, including threats of industrial action, and an utter inability to fill senior roles which Fine Gael have accepted as a fait accompli.

“Rather than ramming through serious legislation that will have an impact on every person in this country, what is needed is an assessment of why we have found ourselves in the position we do, with declining figures in the force.

“Fine Gael have acted as bystanders when it comes to justice for too long. After 12 years in control of the brief, the buck should stop with the Taoiseach and his cabinet colleagues.”

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