There has been a total drop of 29 gardai in the local Garda stations of Clondalkin, Lucan and Ronanstown in the past five years, according to newly released figures.
The figures, which General Election candidate John Curran (FF) requested, show that as of July 31, garda numbers in the area were down from 97 in 2010 to 86 in 2015.
I n L u c a n , G a r d a numbers are down from 83 in 2010 to 70 in 2015, and in Ronanstown the numbers are down from 94 to 89 gardai.
The total number of gardai in 2010 was 274 and in 2015 is 245.
Commenting on these figures, Curran said: “The number of gardai is at a critically low level in our communities of Dublin Mid-West and the Government’s r e c e n t r e c r u i t m e n t drive has not adequately addressed the problem.
“The Government’s r e c e n t r e c r u i t m e n t process is simply insufficient to fill the massive shortfall in personnel and in the strength of the force in all divisions. “Gardai on the frontline in our communities
are not able to gain any ground in terms of overall strength.”
Responding to Curran’s criticism, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that if he was unhappy with garda numbers and was looking for somebody to blame “then he should have a good look in the mirror”.
“John Curran was a Minister in the Fianna Fail government which ruined our economy and public finances. In 2009, he had no problem voting to cut funding to An Garda Siochana which resulted in
the Garda College being closed to new recruits and the supply of new vehicles drying up.
“This lack of investment had a devastating impact on An Garda Siochana and on communities, both here in Dublin Mid-West and nationwide. We are now playing catch-up but we are making serious progress,” she said.
The Minister added that the Government had re-opened the Templemore college to new recruits for the first time since 2009 and to date, 400 new gardai had started their training. T he first 290 had already passed out and were working in communities nationwide, she said.
This includes 20 new gardai for the Lucan and Clondalkin districts, which includes Palmerstown and Ronanstown.
Up t o 15 0 m o r e recruits are due to enter Garda college shortly and she said they would continue recruiting next year and in subsequent years until all the gardai lost in recent years were replaced.
370 new Garda vehicles have also come on stream since the start of this year and in the capital plan published recently, the Department announced that they will invest a further €46 million in new
Garda vehicles in the period 2016 to 2021.
F i t z g e r a l d a d d e d : “In addition, I recently allocated €700,000 to An Garda Siochana to purchase new specialised vehicles to support gardai to respond to highly mobile gangs, as well as €1.75m to upgrade sur veillance equipment on Garda aircraft, including infrared cameras for nighttime use to allow gardai to track and tackle nighttime burglars from the air.”