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Traffic duty wastes Garda resources

2 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said he is angered by the Government's decision to renege on its Programme for Government promise to create a dedicated traffic corps because it "will allow an unacceptable waste of Garda resources to continue." Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Michael McDowell is so distracted by his ideological war on a rights-based society, on immigrants, and on republicans that he has forgotten that one of his basic duties as Minister is to ensure that all communities in this state receive a proper and adequate policing service. This includes working class communities. In various parts of the state and particularly in my own constituency in south inner city Dublin, working class communities still lack adequate Garda resources. This is a major problem.

"People in these communities were encouraged by the coalition's promise that 500-600 Gardaí fully trained in crime fighting would be released from traffic duty, which would be taken over by a dedicated traffic corps. This should have allowed for the redeployment of these Gardaí resources to working class areas where crime is highest. These people now feel betrayed by the Government announcement.

"This is a prime example of the failures of this Minister and this Government.Michael McDowell may be personally ambitious and ideologically driven, but he doesn't care what happens in working class communities. He has abandoned them. That is not right.

"I find it hard to believe that the Government would promise this measure without first getting a legal opinion. That would be outrageous mismanagement. Still, if there are legal difficulties presented by the Government's proposal it is the Minister's responsibility to get them solved. Indeed, such impediments have not stopped him in the past when it comes to measures he considers a priority. The betrayal of this promise tells us all we need to know about this Minister for Justice and his Government." ENDS

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