Shatter’s failure to act on 61 vacant senior positions is damaging force 

Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesman Dara Calleary has said the Government must act this week to fill dozens of senior posts in the ranks of the Gardaí as the management resources of the force are stretched across the country.  There are 61 vacancies in An Garda Siochana: five Assistant Commissioners, eight Chief Superintendents and 46 Superintendents.

Deputy Calleary said: ‘The Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has said, in frank terms, that he views it as “essential” that those listed for promotion in the Gardaí are put in place “as quickly as possible”.  I expect Minister Alan Shatter to finally take action this week.

“It is utterly indefensible that the Minister has not brought proposals to Government before now to fill key positions in the Garda ranks. Over 50 members of the force were selected for promotion to the level of Superintendent or Chief Superintendent last August but Minister Shatter has so far failed to see the urgency to fill these positions.

“We have already seen the number of gardai involved in the Anglo investigation down by more than half under this Government.  There are gaping holes in the senior ranks of the Gardaí which must be addressed before there is a severe impact on morale and tackling crime.

“Minister Shatter has some of the most colourful and forceful comments on the public record regarding the performance of his predecessors in the Department of Justice.  Perhaps it is time now that he examines his own performance in office, ensure the Garda Commissioner has the senior men and women he needs in the ranks and ensure morale in the force is not eroded by his own failure to take action.

“It is essential that the public has confidence in the Gardaí.  There is already concern in communities across the country about the closure of Garda stations while there is no clear information being made available by Minister Shatter on the savings involved or how large parts of rural Ireland will continue to be policed and protected.  If the Government moves to fill key positions in the senior ranks of the Gardaí this week this will at least go some way to demonstrate that the Government is serious about protecting the professional reputation and performance of An Garda Siochana and all those serving in it.”