Garda cuts directly affect crime – Gilligan

by Ian Begley

SINCE the Government came to power in 2010, Clondalkin has lost a total of eight gardai with 31 being lost from Dublin Mid-West as a whole.
The figures, which were obtained by Fianna Fail, show the reduction in Garda numbers in divisions across the country over the past five years.
The data were released by the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald recently after five months of Parliamentary Questions from Fianna Fail’s justice spokesperson, Niall Collins.
Clondalkin at present has 89 gardai compared to 97 in 2010; Lucan has 74 Gardai compared to 84; Ronanstown 88 from 93; and Rathcoole 21 from 29 during this five-year period.
Clondalkin Cllr Trevor Gilligan (FF) believes these cuts have had a direct impact on crime levels in the community.
He said: “If anywhere should be getting more Garda resources it should be the Clondalkin area. We have a huge crime rate and huge issues throughout the area and the fact that they’re cutting Gardai everywhere is a shame.
“We’re being told that the economy is getting back on track and growing yet there are still these cuts happening everywhere.
“The gardai are doing what they can with the resources they have, but some people aren’t reporting incidents to them because they feel that the resources aren’t there to help them address their concerns.”
Cllr Gino Kenny (PBP) also agreed that these cuts had a negative impact on the local community, saying: “Incrementally there is no doubt that this would have a detrimental effect on policing in the constituency.
“Like all public servants including the Garda, the last five years have seen a raft of cuts to pay and conditions which there is no doubt had and is having an adverse effect on crime levels.”
In response to the concerns of local representatives, Minister Fitzgerald said: “I am absolutely committed to reducing crime and supporting the work of An Garda Siochana.
“This Government has worked to deliver economic recovery, and as a result we are able to deliver on the priority goal of investing in An Garda Siochana.
“In September 2014 this Government reopened Templemore Garda College to new recruits. The college had been closed by the FF-led government in 2009 when they ceased recruitment of gardai. Since September, funding has been allocated for recruitment of 550 new gardai.
“Futhermore, between 2012 and 2014, Fine Gael invested €27.5m in new Garda vehicles marking a massive increase on the €4.8m provided for in budgets 2009-11. The latest 370 new Garda vehicles have begun coming on stream since the start of this year.
“In addition, Government has allocated a further €700,000 in 2015 for the procurement of specialist vehicles to aid gardai in tackling highly-mobile criminal gangs. We will continue to invest in the purchase and replacement of vehicles to ensure gardai can be visible, flexible and responsive.”

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