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Accountability needed on extra Gardaí

15 October, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for transparency and accountability in the deployment of the 2,000 additional Gardaí and for a public consultation process to precede their allocation.

Responding to plans announced by the Justice Minister earlier today, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"There needs to be transparency and accountability in the deployment of these extra Gardaí if the move is to increase public confidence in the service. There should be a public consultation process to allow communities to make representations where they feel that policing resources dedicated to their area are insufficient to meet their needs.

"While I am very concerned that the Irish language requirement may not be retained in view of the statutory obligations under the Official Languages Act, I wholeheartedly welcome the commitment to recruit to make the Gardaí more diverse and representative of the population.

"I cannot accept the idea that in excess of 400 of these new recruits could be diverted to traffic duty. Yes we need more resources to prevent dangerous driving and road deaths, however these duties would be better carried out by a dedicated traffic corps. Too many fully trained crime fighters are presently misused on this detail. The Minister should solve this situation, not aggravate it.

"Finally, I hope people will take a realistic view of what can be accomplished by the increase in numbers, and I would caution against disappointment in results fuelling calls for more and more Gardaí. Numbers are not all that count. Appropriate and accountable deployment of resources is just as important. As is employing best practice and the establishment of trust with local communities leading to a relationship of equal partnership. This can only be founded on transparency and public accountability, and that requires fundamental Garda reform. Minister, after two years, we are still waiting." ENDS

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