Fianna Fáil is committing to increase the strength of An Garda Siochána to 15,000 and more than doubling the Garda Reserve to 2,500.
The party has published its crime policy entitled ‘Safer Communities’, ahead of next month’s general election. Justice and Equality Spokesperson Niall Collins was joined for the event by Senator Mary White (Dublin Rathdown) and Councillor Paul McAuliffe (Dublin North-West).
Deputy Collins said: “Community safety across the country has suffered under this Government and there is an urgent need to acknowledge and address this decline. The reality is that the number of gardaí available to police our streets and protect our communities has fallen to a dangerously low level under Fine Gael and Labour and it needs to be fixed.
“Fine Gael and Labour closed 139 Garda stations, saving a measly €556,000 a year while rural communities are left unprotected. This policy was extremely short-sighted and has increased rural isolation. The principle of community policing has all but been completely eroded by this government.
“Fianna Fáil will make the fight against crime a top priority. Our proposals on crime addresses the epidemic that is sweeping large parts of the country and ensure communities can live in security and without fear. This includes initiatives to strengthen the Gardaí while making it tougher for criminal gangs to target isolated communities. We are committed to strengthening the Garda force to 15,000 and introducing tougher sentencing for those who are convicted of burglary offences.
“We are aware that criminal gangs are using the improved motorway network to quickly target towns along key access routes that allow them to make a quick escape. That’s why we want more gardaí on the streets, more hi-speed vehicles for gardaí and CCTV at critical junctions along the motorway network.
“Our commitments on crime and security are grounded in reality. They are driven by our determination to make sure our communities are safe and secure places for families.”