Increasing the number of Gardaí on our streets must remain a priority

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal and member of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality, Alan Farrell, has said that he will work to ensure that the North County is to benefit from the planned national increase in Garda numbers.

“I was pleased to hear Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald reaffirm today (Wednesday) in the Dáil the commitment in the Programme for Government to continue the ongoing accelerated Garda recruitment programme, with a view to increasing Garda numbers to 15,000.

“In what was a very short-sighted move, Fianna Fáil chose to close down the Garda training college in Templemore after the economic crash and introduced a moratorium on Garda recruitment. This severely impacted on Garda numbers nationwide, something that was certainly felt here in the North County.

“With the economic recovery underway, Fine Gael in government reopened Templemore in 2014 and prioritised Garda recruitment once more.

“The Garda Commissioner previously advised the Oireachtas Justice Committee that the maximum capacity of Templemore Garda Training College was in the region of 500 recruits per year. We are stretching this to 600 recruits, this year, which will bring the total number of new Gardaí recruited since 2014 to 1,150. However, given the fact that the force has been faced with, and is still facing, a significant rate of retirement we cannot restore the numbers within the force to 15,000 in one year alone. Such is the legacy of the closure of the Garda Training College, and implementation of the recruitment moratorium by Fianna Fáil.

“It is encouraging to hear the Minister confirm that, even taking account of projected retirements, the current rate of recruitment will bring Garda numbers to around the 13,000 mark this year and that she is determined to bring this figure to 15,000 in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

“It is crucial that we continue to use the fruits of our strong economy to provide better services in Dublin Fingal. This means more Gardaí to keep our communities safe. I will continue to work closely with the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD and her Department to ensure that Dublin Fingal sees the benefit of this increase in Garda numbers.”