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Ó Snodaigh calls for Garda Reserve to be scrapped

27 January, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has this morning called for the Garda Reserve to be scrapped. Speaking ahead of an Oireachtas Committee meeting with the Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the reserve is a failed and costly exercise and should be scrapped.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh also gave his party's reaction to the publication of the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern's priorities for the Gardaí in 2009.

He said, "We would have liked to see a commitment to scrap the Garda Reserve and the €1.3 million it costs annually redirected into quality community policing. It is a failed and costly PR exercise of a previous Justice Minister and has been deemed as such by both the Garda Representative Association and the Association of Garda Sergeants. It should be scrapped immediately before more money is wasted.

"The reserve has had little or no impact in terms of improving policing. Even aside from its budget allocation a range of other costs are tied up with its existence. A chief superintendent, a superintendent, several sergeants and a large number of Gardaí are tied up with training and supervising the tiny reserve force. .

"The Garda Reserve cannot be a substitute for quality community policing by full-time fully trained Gardaí.

"Minister Ahern's Garda priorities for 2009 are a real step backwards from the priorities determined by Brian Lenihan for the 2008 plan.

"Like the Gardaí themselves, Ahern's top priority is state security followed secondly by crime. Lenihan had reversed these last year - rightly in our view.

"Ahern has also dumped some of the more positive priorities determined by Lenihan last year which we had welcomed at the time and which were in fact clearly influenced by our own submission to that year's policing plan. Ahern has abandoned: the emphasis on JPCs; the priority of increasing the numbers of Gardaí on operational duties, the frequency of high visibility patrols and the numbers deployed in RAPID areas; and Crime Prevention and Reduction as a named priorities in the 2009 Garda Policing Plan." ENDS

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