Louise O’Reilly critical of Government spin on Garda recruitment
Sinn Féin’s Dublin Fingal Candidate, Louise O’Reilly, has criticised the manner in which the government has exaggerated increases in Garda recruitment, when in reality there are 2,500 fewer Gardaí since 2010. Ms O’Reilly was responding to statements made by leading Garda associations which highlighted the true shortfall in Garda recruits despite government spin to the contrary.
O ‘Reilly said:
“As we approach the election, the government spin machine has gone into overdrive. Election literature, press statements and infographics proudly proclaim the increase in Garda recruitment around the country. Such pronouncements are misleading in the extreme, and fail to mention the fact that total numbers in the force continue to decline.
“According to the Garda Representative Association (GRA) there are around 2,500 fewer Gardaí since 2010, with 152 fewer Gardaí in Fingal. There are serious fears about the ability of the Gardaí to provide the standard of policing as demanded by the public. These concerns have also been expressed by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI).
“Not only have overall numbers seriously declined, but 139 Garda stations have been closed during the tenure of this government including Rush Garda Station as well as the downgrading of Skerries & Lusk Garda Station which is having a knock on effect on Balbriggan Station – these station closures are saving the State just €4,000 per station per annum. Given the scourge of crime in rural areas, we must seriously question such decisions by Fine Gael and Labour – decisions which have potentially serious consequences for the well-being and security of our citizens.
“In our alternative budget, Sinn Féin outlined fully-costed plans to recruit and additional 1,000 extra Gardaí, which would go some way to bring numbers in the force back to pre-recession levels. The government may package figures to great fanfare, and gloss over serious failings in their approach to policing, but the reality is that they are falling far short of what is needed. It is simply disingenuous to state otherwise.”