Sinn Fein Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has welcomed the announcement today of a move to raise the jail time faced by those convicted of assaulting Gardaí. The proposed changes would allow for a maximum 12 year sentence for those who carry out assaults on emergency service personal, including attacks on Garda vehicles.
Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said:
“We can all agree that there needs to be a stronger deterrent when it comes to attacks on frontline service personnel. In that regard I do welcome this change. However, the retention crisis facing the force goes a lot deeper than headline grabbing sentencing guidelines.
“Last year we saw over 100 resignations from An Garda Síochána, at a time when less than that had attested in Templemore. Gardaí across the country tell me they feel under-resourced and that morale is ‘on the floor’. They have had enough.
“The low morale amongst Gardaí goes further than headline-grabbing sentencing guidelines. It’s about their ability to police with too few Gardaí, not enough resources in terms of equipment and technologies.
“When gardai are attacked on the frontline it requires treatment and recovery. This deprives a community of Gardaí who are there to protect their area. As the retention and recruitment crisis deepens within An Garda Síochana, this issue will continue to affect communities and these frontline Gardaí most.
“Fine Gael have held responsibility for the Justice Department for over a decade but have failed to adequately support Gardaí in the difficulties they face daily. Technology such as body cams – a basic necessity that most police services across Europe have used for over a decade – are only being allowed for in legislation now. Improved resourcing for frontline Gardaí has been called for as members continue to leave, but government is not listening.
“Once again it seems Fine Gael have arrived late to the obvious conclusion – An Garda Síochana and the communities they protect are under increased pressure and feel abandoned by successive Justice ministers.”