Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has called on the Minister to immediately clarify his party’s stance on Garda recruitment in light of the continuing fall in Garda numbers. His comments come as data analysis by the Irish Independent today shows that one in four stations had seen a loss in Gardaí, while 42 stations have no Garda assigned permanently to them.
Teachta Kenny said:
“It’s unfortunate that this analysis has reinforced the findings of my own research in December 2022 – that there is a serious shortage of Gardai across the country. Last year alone, we saw 90 Gardaí attested in Templemore, but saw more than 100 resign. That’s already a loss without also factoring those who had retired which is said to be in the region of 300-400 per year. Communities deserve to be protected and feel safe, but that isn’t the case.
“Fine Gael brand themselves as the party of law and order but we can all see that is simply not the case. They have had responsibility for the Department of Justice for more than a decade, overseeing a substantial loss of Gardai in that time, without any targeted action plan to remedy the difficulty in recruitment and retention of Gardaí.
“Frontline Gardaí have identified the current shortage of members as one of the main factors effecting their working conditions – there are simply not enough Gardaí to adequately police some areas, despite the very best efforts of those already working on the frontline. They do crucial work every day, but are being badly let down by this government’s poor leadership and failure to deliver.
“As police continue to resign due to these already difficult working conditions, this further exacerbates the depleting numbers. It’s having a hugely negative effect on those wishing to protect their communities to the best of their own abilities as it is affecting call response times and, importantly, the mental health of the Gardaí who feel they are fighting a losing battle for desperately needed resources.
“I recently heard a Garda making comparisons with the hollowing out of the Defence Forces and what he sees now as the hollowing out of An Garda Síochána. I would have to share that view if I am honest. Fine Gael are failing to protect frontline Gardaí and the resources they require. It’s not good enough. Communities need to have confidence that they will be protected from crime.”
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin West and spokesperson for Community Development, Paul Donnelly TD, said:
“I welcome this data analysis, which exposes the stark reality of how badly communities are being let down by this government and highlights the need for clear, urgent change. Sinn Féin have been calling for this change for many years, yet the government has been refusing to even acknowledge the scale of the problem.
“Some of the figures are startling especially in relation to Rathmines and Stepaside, a station that was only recently reopened and is now short staffed. The stations and sub stations in North County Dublin must be staffed properly. This part of the county is vast and has seen its population rise substantially over the last few years. We need Gardaí in stations to be able to service the community’s needs adequately, so that communities can feel safe and protected. This Government must end their record of poor leadership and should instead act urgently to protect communities properly. Their failings in Garda recruitment and retention cannot continue.
“Communities across Dublin are left to pay the price for Fine Gael’s failures in the Justice Department and it cannot continue. Sinn Féin in government would stand up for communities and ensure that they have a policing service that is fit for purpose.”