Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford John Browne has criticised the Government for overseeing significant cuts to garda resources and manpower in County Wexford.
Deputy Browne made the comments after it was revealed that just 5 gardaí will be stationed in Wexford following their attestation in Templemore last April. This is despite the fact that garda numbers in Wexford have fallen by 44 since 2010.
Deputy Browne commented, “The latest figures made available to Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesperson Niall Collins shows there were 244 gardaí attached to Wexford in February this year, down from 288 in April 2010. The loss of over 40 gardaí to police our communities cannot be undone with an additional 5 garda recruits.
“It is extremely important that garda recruitment and the training of new officers is continuing but I think the Government needs to ramp up its efforts in this regard. The strength of the garda force nationally is now around 12,500 and there are a further 1,498 officers eligible to retire this year. This would leave the force at a seriously diminished level.
“I think many people in Wexford will be at a total loss to understand why it took this Government until late last year to recognise the need for more recruitment and to finally take action. However the recruitment drive unveiled by the Government to date is totally inadequate. The number of new gardaí being recruited will just about cover the number expected to retire this year.
“Under Fine Gael and Labour we have seen crime rates rise considerably while they pursues cutbacks to garda resources and manpower. Many people recognise the urgent need to get more gardaí into our communities, however little has been done to date to achieve this.
“News emerged this week that we in Wexford are only to receive 5 new recruits from Templemore. This is hugely disappointing and a cause for real concern. Wexford is faring poorly when it comes to the allocation of garda manpower and resources when compared to the rest of the country. For example County Tipperary, which has a similar population to County Wexford, currently has 356 gardaí. In contrast County Wexford only has 244 gardaí assigned to it.
“Fianna Fáil’s priority is to restore the strength of the garda force to 14,000. I do not believe we can have an appropriate and safe domestic policing and security strategy in place for all our communities for Wexford and around the country without restoring garda numbers to this critical level.
“This Government needs to wake-up to the looming crisis further garda retirements will have on the force and up the numbers in recruitment and training as a matter of urgency.”