Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Martin Kenny TD, has condemned violent scenes between rival groups in Rathkeale and called on the Minister for Justice, Simon Harris, to resource Gardaí with the necessary additional personnel to hold those responsible to account and to ensure that there is no repeat of the incident.
Teachta Kenny said:
“This outrageous incident left the community of Rathkeale terrorised and in fear for their safety, and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
“This cannot happen again. There is no place for violence on our streets. The community of Rathkeale are good people and everyone deserves to be safe in their community and to know that their local Gardaí have sufficient resources and staffing levels to protect them.
“While this incident is the worst we have seen in the area, every year at Christmas, for quite some time, there have been incidents in Rathkeale, so there should have preemptive measures taken to ensure the Gardaí had the necessary resources to react.
“Our Garda force is stretched to its absolute limits and Gardaí are working in unsustainable conditions and have been for some time.
“In our Alternative Budget earlier this year, Sinn Féin set out how we would deliver an additional 800 Gardaí to protect communities.
“In contrast, Fine Gael in government has continued to have an alarmingly lax attitude to Garda numbers falling since 2009, during a time when the population has grown by more than 11%.
“I am therefore calling on the new interim Minister for Justice, Simon Harris, to now fully resource the Gardaí with the extra personnel required to ensure that those responsible for terrorising the community of Rathkeale are brought to justice.
“We also need to see a coherent and deliverable plan for policing by Fine Gael, who have had more than a decade in government to design one.”