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Ó Snodaigh launches Sinn Féin submission to Garda Policing Plan 2009

23 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD today launched his party's submission to the Garda Policing Plan for 2009. In the submission Deputy Ó Snodaigh has urged the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner to re-direct spending in the new context of recession.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin this morning Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "The public purse may be tightening but criminals' coffers certainly aren't. In the context of rising crime and recession An Garda Síochána simply cannot afford to misdirect their spending. A number of examples of monies wasted by the Gardaí were highlighted by the Comptroller and Auditor General yesterday. This cannot be allowed to continue. Spending must be tightly matched to community priorities.

"For the second year running we are arguing for drug and gun crime to be the top priority for the Gardaí. We continue to be extremely concerned about the extent of the drug problem in Ireland and its associated crime. We are particularly concerned at the increased seizures of heroin which have taken place in recent months and which are an indication of a heroin market that continues to grow. We again urge a more aggressive pursuit of heroin dealers alongside the pursuit of cocaine dealers in the year ahead and are calling for resources to the Garda Drug Squads to be at least doubled in the time ahead.

"Our submission learns lessons from the Morris and Hartnett reports published this year and our recommendations are grounded in the views of communities themselves. All of our proposals are made in the context of recession and of the resultant tightening budgetary constraints. It is our belief that measures can be taken to deploy Gardaí more effectively and efficiently within current funding provisions. A robust process of civilianisation will be fundamental to the delivery of effective policing. This process must be expedited to a level equivalent with our neighbouring jurisdictions in order to quickly and cost-effectively free-up fully trained Gardaí to be redeployed into the fight against crime.

"This year we have included a new section expressly focused on rural policing which recognises that while many policing needs are common to both rural and urban settings some needs may be particular to, or more pertinent to, rural communities. Likewise a further new section makes proposals specific to policing services for older people, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities.

"We trust that our sound proposals will again be given proper consideration." ENDS

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