Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin West and Justice Committee member, Jack Chambers TD has said the decision to impose a cut to overtime for Gardaí stationed in the area to facilitate Pope Francis’s visit this summer, will mean that the existing essential crime operations will come under significant strain in the region.

The Phoenix Park is based in the Garda division in West Dublin, members of the force will be expected to provide full protection during the Pope’s visit as part of the World Meeting of Families this August. Given that An Garda Síochana is already running over-budget, a cut to overtime has been put in place to meet the cost of the event.

Commenting on today’s reports, local TD Jack Chambers said, “I very much welcome the Papal visit to our Capital, I simply believe that at a time when crime has just been brought under some degree of control by Gardaí in their duties, the status quo should not be jeopardised.

“There are a number of important operations in our district that Gardaí have worked tirelessly on to ensure that crime is contained. My concern would be that no appropriate provisions will be made to ensure that these essential operations are not affected by the overtime cut.

“The high cost of Garda protection of the Pope for the duration of his visit to the park should not be incurred by those living locally who have dealt with criminality in the recent past and who have just been able to have confidence in Garda operations as of late.

“A solution must be found so that Gardaí can be deployed to the Phoenix Park but that Dublin West residents can also be assured that they are safe, protected and that there is the usual Garda presence from now until then.” he concluded.