Adding to the growing list of Government U-turns, the Minster for Justice has today signalled that Garda numbers are likely to be reduced, according to Fianna Fail spokesperson on Justice Dara Calleary.

Having recently said that the maintenance of current Garda strength was of “crucial importance”, the Minster today told a Garda Representative Association conference that the Justice sector would have to endure cuts.

Commenting on this Deputy Calleary said: “Only last December Alan Shatter said that a reduction in Garda number would ‘obstruct the battle against crime’. Speaking to rank and file gardai today, however, he was forced to concede that the target to reduce Garda strength to 13,000 would most likely remain. Pointing out that this would bring the force back to 2006 levels, he questioned whether this could ‘credibly be portrayed as a dramatic and unsustainable’. Ironic, given the fact that this is precisely what he sought to do in Opposition.

“It really is incredible that this is the same person, who before Christmas, in full election-campaign mode, said that any drop in Garda numbers would see drug gangs and their leaders celebrating”.

Deputy Calleary concluded: “Minister Shatter’s appearance on the list of broken promises serves as yet another reminder of the deeply cynical campaign waged by Fine Gael in Opposition and during the recent general election.”