Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil TD for Louth Seamus Kirk reveal that Garda numbers in the county have fallen substantially over the past 5 years.
The information was released to Fianna Fáil by the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald after 5 months of Parliamentary Questions from the Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins. The figures show that every Garda district in Louth has seen a reduction in manpower since 2010.
Deputy Kirk commented, “The figures that I have obtained show that Garda resources have been slashed by Fine Gael and Labour since they came to office. There are now 38 fewer Gardai in the Louth Division compared to 5 years ago.
“Drogheda has seen the most dramatic reduction in numbers with 22 fewer Gardai being attached to Drogheda Garda station since 2010. The reduction in manpower has occurred across the county with Ardee, Castlebellingham, Collon, Blackrock, Drumad and Hackballscross all experiencing personnel cutbacks.
“There is a feeling in communities in Louth that crime rates are on the rise. People do not feel as safe as they used to in their own homes. This comes as no surprise considering the cutback in resourcing for the Gardai that the Government has overseen since coming to office.
“The Government has been attempting to downplay the crime crisis by hiding behind official crime figures. However Fianna Fáil has spent the past three years saying that gaping holes in frontline policing are leading to a spike in crime levels. Every community that I visit identifies rising crime levels as a top concern. It is no coincidence that these feelings are expressed at a time when Garda numbers are falling.
“It is time for the Government to admit that rising crime levels is a serious problem in our communities. Action must be taken to reverse this trend. More resources are needed for our police force, and this includes restoring manpower to Garda stations. The only resourcing initiative that the Government has announced for policing is a small intake of student Gardai for this year. However it has been highlighted by Garda management that this intake will barely even cover the number of people retiring from the force each year” said Deputy Kirk.