Galway City Councillor Peter Keane is calling on the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to immediately lift the ban on recruitment in the gardaí amid fears that garda numbers in Galway and across the country will reach dangerously low levels next year.
The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter confirmed to Fianna Fáil this week that a further 1,200 gardaí will be eligible to retire over the next two years – that’s 25% more than was originally expected.
Cllr Keane said, “With so many gardaí due to retire here in Galway and across the country next year, there is absolutely no doubt that major gaps will soon appear in frontline policing in this city. It is extremely worrying that despite these higher than expected figures, the Minister for Justice is still refusing to lift the ban on recruitment in the gardaí next year.
“Not only that, the Minister is planning a fresh attack on small garda stations and district garda headquarters next year. Communities across Galway are extremely concerned about rumours of more garda station closures in their area at a time when the rate of burglaries, muggings and thefts is increasing. Our local garda resources are already stretched to their limit and we simply cannot afford to shut down or downgrade more local garda stations at this time.
“Among the stations earmarked for a major downgrade is Salthill District Headquartes. I have spoken to many people locally who are already feeling more vulnerable in their homes in recent months and are extremely concerned about the impact of losing our local District HQ.
“While I recognise the need to meet savings targets in the budget next year, this can be done without an attack on frontline policing. Fianna Fáil’s alternative budget for 2013 meets the necessary targets while setting aside funding to reopen the garda training college at Templemore next year. It takes two years to train new recruits so we need to start doing this immediately to ensure the garda personnel are available to fill the gaps in the force.”