Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan TD has said that the government’s planned decision to increase garda recruitment is good news for communities nationwide.

Commenting on this afternoon’s Budget announcement to recruit 800 members of An Gardaí Siochana in 2017, Deputy O’Callaghan said, “Fianna Fáil has consistently campaigned to deliver an increase in garda numbers. The Policy Framework agreed by our party in the Confidence and Supply arrangement secured a commitment to increase the number of Gardaí to 15,000.

“Throughout the General Election and prior to the agreement of the arrangement in May, Minister Fitzgerald did not believe that it was feasible to put such an increase in Garda numbers in place,” added O’Callaghan.

“We need as many members of An Garda Síochána as possible on our streets tackling crime, and protecting our citizens. A strengthened garda presence is critical for the safety of our communities.

“Of course, it is not just about investment, significant reform is also required within the existing force. The 2015 Garda Inspectorate report raised a number of concerns that remain to be adequately addressed by the Minister.

“Following today’s Budget announcement, the challenge now is to ensure that this increase in garda resources is effectively utilised so that those in both urban and rural areas have full confidence in the policing of their communities.

“I welcome the change in approach adopted and hope to see it maintained throughout the years ahead.”