The political opportunism at play from Sinn Féin in the aftermath of Thursday’s violence serves no purpose other than to distract from the focus of ensuring the safety of our citizens, according to a Fine Gael Senator.
Senator Barry Ward Sinn Féin is now using the actions of a small number of mindless thugs who were hellbent on causing destruction and mayhem on Thursday to score political points and distract from the work of Government.
Senator Ward, Fine Gael’s justice spokesperson, said: “Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald initially did not want to politicise the horrendous attack on three innocent children and their carer on Parnell Square, and wanted a unified response on Thursday night.
“Yet less than 24 hours later, she did what Sinn Féin does best: blamed Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Minister Helen McEntee for the deplorable events that unfolded, and said she no longer had confidence in them.
“The blame should lie with the thugs who carried out the senseless attacks on emergency workers and vandalised Luas carriages, buses, Garda cars and businesses, leaving the whole nation in a state of shock.
“This violence and destruction on our capital’s street have left people rightly shaken and questioning whether our capital is safe in the run-up to Christmas.
“The public can rest assured that Minister McEntee and Government are firmly committed to ensuring we have robust legislation to deal with the criminality witnessed this week and that An Garda Síochána have the resources, equipment and manpower needed to adequately police cities, towns and villages throughout Ireland.
“Over 32 people have appeared before the courts and investigations are underway into the events of Thursday night to ensure that all of the perpetrators who took advantage of tragedy will face the full rigours of the law.
“The last two budgets, in particular, saw significant investment in our Gardaí, and the Garda budget in 2024 is €430 million larger than when Minister McEntee took office in 2020.
“Everything is being done to ensure we have adequate Garda numbers, with 14,000 members across the country, is up 9% since 2015. The Budget also provided funding for 1,000 Garda recruits, 400 civilian staff, and a 25% increase in Garda overtime support.
“Sinn Féin just wants to score political points and sow division at a time when we need a unified response in condemning the actions of a small few and ensuring our communities are safe,” Senator Ward said.