Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Martin Kenny TD, has criticised the government’s ongoing failure to provide adequate policing levels in Dublin.
An analysis by Sinn Féin of Garda numbers across the state has found that the total Garda membership has fallen since 2009, during a time when the population has grown by more than 11%.
The figures show Dublin now has 17.8% fewer members of An Garda Síochána than in 2009, despite substantial population growth in the city and county during this time.
Teachta Kenny said:
“Everyone deserves to be safe in their community and to know that their local Gardaí have sufficient resources and staffing levels to protect them. Shockingly, an analysis I have undertaken of Gardaí numbers shows that the number of Gardaí across the state has dropped since 2009, despite population growth.
“The situation is particularly concerning in Dublin, as the number of Gardaí has dropped by almost 18% in this time period.
“I want to be very clear that this issue is not the making of rank and file Gardaí, who work hard on the frontline every day in their communities in often challenging circumstances. These brave members are stretched to their absolute limits and are working in unsustainable conditions and have been for some time.
“Many of the Gardaí working overtime are doing so to cover policing duties that other stations are unable to meet due to a nationwide shortage. An example of this was the attack this week in Ballyfermot. The Gardaí who were viciously set upon were attached to another station and were required to cover duties in the Ballyfermot area.
“Fine Gael have held the justice ministry for over a decade, and they have abjectly failed to address the ongoing recruitment and retention difficulties faced by Garda divisions across the state. This chronic shortage means many stations are having to rob Peter to pay Paul in terms of covering policing duties in communities.
“Dublin has lost 17.8%, or 757 members of An Garda Síochána, since 2009. While the population has grown by 15.5% in this time, the city and county is being policed by fewer Gardaí than ever before. Fine Gael’s lax attitude to police numbers is appalling and must change.
“We need a coherent and deliverable plan for policing by Fine Gael, who have had more than ten years in government to design one.
“In our Alternative Budget earlier this year, Sinn Féin set out how we would deliver an additional 800 Gardaí to protect communities.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Community Development, Paul Donnelly TD, said:
“People deserve to feel safe and supported in their communities. Frustratingly, we know that too often this isn’t the case as recent frightening attacks in the capital city have shown.
“Just looking at my own area of Dublin 15 and Dublin 7 which are some of the most diverse and fast-growing urban areas in the state. We have one Garda station. Limerick has three. We have one third of the Garda personnel that Limerick has and yet we both have similar populations. In fact, Dublin 15’s population has now increased to about 110,000 and Limerick is just below 100,000.
“I have heard this echoed by my colleagues across all of Dublin city and county. Fine Gael need to get their act together and ensure that sufficient Garda numbers are delivered in Dublin.
“Sinn Féin in government would stand up for communities to ensure they have a real say and a voice in community targeted education programmes like school completion, youth drug and alcohol services, counselling services, child and adolescent mental health services and community Gardaí with adequate resources so people can live and work in a city they feel safe in.”