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Ó Snodaigh calls on Minister to abandon his plans for reserve Gardaí

17 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Justice, Equality and Human Rights spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on Justice Minister Michael McDowell, who is to meet officials from the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors next week, to abandon his plans to introduce a force of 900 reserve Gardaí saying “it is not an acceptable substitute for better community policing.” Adding to further criticism today to McDowells plans he said this proposal “was just one of the reasons that Sinn Féin voted against the Gardai Síochána Bill 2004.”

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “This proposal for a reserve force was just one of the reasons that Sinn Féin voted against the Gardai Síochána Bill 2004.   This was a Bill which failed to provide for the crucial reforms necessary for an effective, community-based and genuinely accountable police force to be achieved in this state.

“The Minister is proposing to invest police powers in individuals who are not properly trained and are not fully accountable.  These powers include the power of arrest and use of force.  And he is proposing to support the reserve members who are to obtain these powers, and the weighty responsibilities attached, with a mere total of 24 hours training. 

“This proposal would not be fair on communities who deserve policing of the highest standard, from a fully trained and professional force.  Neither would it be fair on the proposed reserve volunteers themselves who would form part of a parallel police force incapable of ensuring comparable human rights standards in their activities. 

“The reserve Gardaí proposal is not the way to create greater community confidence in the Gardaí.  It is not an acceptable substitute for proper resourcing of community policing, it poses significant human rights concerns and I am calling on the Minisiter to abandon his plans.” ENDS

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