News & Media

Explanation needed on FG U-turn over 800 Gardaí

9 October 2019

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs

Labour Justice spokesperson Seán Sherlock has called on the Minister for Justice to clarify why he has resiled from his own Programme for Government commitment to recruit 800 garda trainees a year and what the reason for only taking in 700 next year is.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“The budget announcement for the Department of Justice this year only provides funding for the recruitment of an additional 700 garda recruits in 2020. Why haven’t been given any reason why this is the case?

“This is a u-turn on the Programme for Government commitment to train 800 recruits a year to get to a force strength of 15,000 by 2020. Why is Fine Gael walking away from putting more Gardaí on our streets?

“In the event of a no deal Brexit there may be a need for increased Gardaí activity in the border region and if there is traffic chaos in and around our ports it will put further pressure on the force. We’ve seen the impact of increased drug related crime and the ongoing pressure on frontline policing.

“Fine Gael are failing to deliver on their own commitments. After being told there would be 800 recruits this year, only 600 were taken in. Now the Budget this year is only providing for ‘up to 700’, which means the overall figures will be down at least 300 over the space of 2 years.

“People deserve an explanation from the Minister why he is now recruiting less Gardaí. Is it because of the visits by Trump and Pence that resources have been moved away from recruitment to cover the €18m costs of those trips?

“We have been told Justice will receive a supplementary estimate but we don’t know for how much, and for what purpose, and whether the restrictions on garda overtime have now been lifted.”