Garda cars ‘not enough’ – Lynam

by Gazette Reporter

A SWORDS councillor has said the latest allocation of Garda vehicles was not enough to tackle crime in the north Dublin area.
This follows the announcement that the Dublin Metropolitan North Garda region, which serves Fingal, is to receive three new Garda vehicles in the coming weeks, bringing the number of new vehicles for the region this year to 12.
Staff numbers in the region, which covers Balbriggan, Garristown, Lusk, Rush, Skerries, Malahide, Swords, Howth, Coolock, Clontarf, Raheny, Ballymun, Santry and Dublin Airport Garda stations, have dropped by 20% over the past five years.
The number of gardai operating in the area has been reduced from 825 in 2010 to 673 in 2015, which amounts to the loss of almost a fifth of the force.
However, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said that recruitment was recommenced nationwide in September 2014 and is set to continue steadily.
Cllr Philip Lynam (SF) said that while any additional resources were to be welcomed, he believed three cars was not enough and 30 would be a more suitable allocation.
He said: “It’s not enough to tackle crime, which is actually increasing at the moment.
“I’m hearing in my clinics and from meeting people on the street about different break-ins that are happening and it’s across the board in the whole Fingal area. It really should be 30 instead of three.”
He went on to say it was necessary for Garda cars to travel from Swords to Coolock or vice versa when responding to priority cases, which left criminals with plenty of time to escape.
He also cited the close proximity of Donabate and Portrane to the motorway, saying burglars can strike and make their escape very quickly.
“It’s a highly populated area to cover, and to tackle antisocial behaviour and burglaries we would need treble what is out there. ”
Deputy Alan Farrell (FG), who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, said the additional vehicles would help the fight against crime in local communities throughout Fingal.
He said: “Nine cars have been issued to the region so far this year with three due to be issued in the coming weeks.
“Our local gardai will be really bolstered by this influx of new vehicles, which is part of the Government’s comprehensive plan to fight crime.
“As well as increasing the number of Garda vehicles, we are bringing more gardai out from behind the desks and out onto our streets.”
He went on to echo Minister Fitzgerald’s commitments on increasing Garda resources, citing the reopening of Templemore Garda training college and the legislation currently being prepared, which will see harsher penalties for repeat burglars.

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