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Ó Snodaigh critical of McDowell's Garda Reserve announcement

19 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has criticised Justice Minister Michael McDowell's announcement of new Garda positions to oversee and implement the Garda reserve. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the Minister hasn't bothered to consult the very people the reserve will affect most -- the communities.

Speaking today he said, "It seems Minister McDowell is pre-empting the work of the Garda Inspectorate, who are due to study and report on Garda resource requirements.

"His announcement today also makes it clear that he doesn't intend to listen to or consider any proposals that may be made at the Justice Committee meeting that takes place tomorrow to discuss the proposed Garda Reserve. This is nothing new from McDowell who's arrogance knows no bounds.

"At no stage has the Minister consulted with the very people that the reserve will affect most -- the communities. In fact, of all the positions announced today not one of them refers to community policing which leads me to believe that the Minister intends to use the reserve as a poor substitute for proper, fully resourced community policing.

"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 again calling on the Minisiter to abandon his plans. Rather, any extra Garda numbers needed should be achieved through the civilianisation of a number of Garda duties in particular admin duties and by introducing a dedicated civilian traffic corps. An Garda Síochána have a very low percentage of civilian staff by comparative standards." ENDS

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