Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell, has today (Thursday) highlighted the hypocrisy of Fianna Fáil’s criticism of the Government’s management of Garda resources and stated that under Fianna Fáil’s ‘National Recovery Plan’ we would have less Gardaí and a smaller Garda budget.
“It is extremely ironic that Fianna Fáil has this week taken on the role of defender of An Garda Síochana and of public safety. Fianna Fáil’s own ‘National Recovery Plan 2011-2014’ published in November 2010 immediately prior to that Government’s agreement with the Troika gives the lie to this misconception. The plan would have directly led to a reduction in Garda numbers and bigger cuts in the Garda budget.
“Fianna Fáil have carried out a scaremongering campaign in order to put fear into rural communities that their localities will not be policed. This could not be further from the truth. Fianna Fáil can keep talking but the facts plainly speak for themselves.
“This Government has maintained higher Garda numbers than had been projected under Fianna Fáil’s plan. The budget for fighting crime is also considerably higher than what Fianna Fáil had allocated. *
“The current reforms being implemented are all about using our police resources more effectively. Under a recently agreed roster system, Gardaí spend less time behind their desks and more time out in the community. This will see an additional 61,000 patrol hours dedicated towards community policing, crime prevention and crime detection. These changes have been made possible by the closure of certain Garda stations, of which 94% were open for three hours a day or less, and the purchase of new Garda vehicles as sanctioned by Minster for Justice, Alan Shatter TD.
“I have seen closures of Rush Garda Station in my own constituency, as well as the curtailment of opening hours at the Garda station in Malahide, my hometown, but I am satisfied that the very noticeable increase in Gardaí on the beat means that the community is being more effectively policed.
“As the Garda Commissioner has said, with the modern transport and communication technology available to us we do not need more than 700 Garda stations for our population of 4.5 million. By comparison, there are 83 police stations in Northern Ireland for its population of 1.4 million, and 340 stations in Scotland for its population of 5.2 million.
“Fianna Fáil’s efforts to unnerve rural communities are cynical, opportunistic and disingenuous. I would ask them to give our modern, highly professional police service the credit it deserves and to stop trying to create fear among the public.”
*Note to editors:
· In 2012, Minister Shatter secured €2.243 billion which was an additional €118 million over
and above the Fianna Fáil allocation of €2.125 billion
· For 2013, Minister Shatter secured funding of €2.2 billion which was €191 million over and
above the Fianna Fáil allocation of €2.009 billion
· For 2014, Minister Shatter secured funding of €2.065 billion which was €105 million over
and above the original Fianna Fáil allocation of €1.96 billion
Fianna Fail’s National Recovery Plan detailed the reduction in Garda no’s between 2010 – 2014:
· 14,500 by the 31 December 2010
· 13,500 by the 31 December 2011
· 13,350 by the 31 December 2012
· 13,150 by the 31 December 2013
· 13,000 by the 31 December 2014