Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD expressed deep concern at figures which reveal soaring Garda resignations. His comments come as figures released to his office in a parliamentary question show 104 Gardaí resigned in 2022, up from 24 in 2016, and with initial 2023 trends suggesting these figures are set to rise even higher.
Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said:
“Figures released to me reveal soaring resignations among Gardaí. 24 resigned in 2016, yet this has more than quadrupled to 104 in 2022. The figures for January 2023 suggest that this trend is continuing as the retention crisis in the Gardaí is deepening.
“Eleven rank-and-file members and one sergeant left An Garda Síochána in January 2023, and the figures for February have not been released to me yet. If these initial 2023 figures continue throughout this year, then we could be looking at losing almost 150 members this year.
“Considering fewer than 100 new Gardaí attested last year, An Garda Síochána are not even running to stand still at this point. This is a crisis and the government is asleep at the wheel.
“The blame here should not be laid at the feet of rank-and-file Gardaí, they are not the ones causing this retention issue, but they are the ones who are so badly affected by the current work conditions that they face daily as they protect our communities.
“Many Gardaí feel demoralised, overworked and under-resourced. Recent attacks on Gardaí have left officers shocked and worried about their safety. Communities deserve to feel safe and protected. They need to know that if they need the Gardaí, there will be enough officers available to come to their assistance.
“I have questioned the Minister repeatedly on this matter and the response is usually to ‘put these resignations in context’. I’m sorry to say that the context now is that resignations are continuing at an alarming rate which tells me there is a serious issue. And the government response to it is to stick their heads in the sand.
“Fine Gael have had responsibility for the Department of Justice for over a decade, and have now single-handedly seen the largest increase in Garda resignations since 2016. The government need to get to grips with the recruitment and retention crisis in the force.”