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Sinn Féin’s Garda recruitment plans unfeasible and misleading – Farrell

25th January 2024 - Alan Farrell TD

Sinn Féin’s pledge to recruit up to 2,000 new Gardaí annually is an unfeasible and misleading political pledge that overlooks the practicalities and standards of Garda training, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Deputy Alan Farrell, Fine Gael Dáil Spokesperson for Justice said that such a high number of recruitments per year, if enacted, would not only strain the resources and training capacity at Templemore Garda Training College, but also risks compromising the quality and effectiveness of law enforcement in Ireland.

“On RTÉ’s Drivetime program on January 18th, a Sinn Fein TD claimed that their plans for Garda recruitment include up to 2,000 new Gardaí per annum. This is a hollow political claim, hastily announced on national airwaves in an effort to appear competent in matters of justice and policing.

“It is untenable and disingenuous to commit to deliver up to 2,000 new Gardaí per annum without significantly compromising the training models adopted by Templemore Garda Training college. This issue isn’t about capacity or ability to deliver; it’s about maintaining the high standards of training and finding appropriately qualified candidates from across the country.

“Having visited Templemore with the Oireachtas Justice Committee in December, I saw the level of professionalism and robust training arrangements in place for new recruits. Doubling the output of the college is an empty political promise which compromise the high standards in place.

“An Garda Síochána has been allocated a record €2.35 billion budget for 2024, marking a substantial rise of approximately €672 million since 2015. This budget encompasses the recruitment of 800 to 1,000 new Gardaí and an increased overtime fund of €130 million, which is €28 million higher than the previous year. The Garda Reserve, whose recruitment competition was expedited by the Minister and commenced at the start of this year, will further supplement the main force with dedicated and trained volunteers, enhancing community policing efforts and overall public safety.

“Fine Gael’s steadfast commitment to investing in policing is further evidenced by the substantial funding for Garda vehicles, IT systems, body-worn cameras, protective gear, and community initiatives like Local Community Safety Partnerships

“With the strategic expansion of the Garda force to nearly 14,000 members, alongside this investment in policing infrastructure, Fine Gael is ensuring that our commitment to public safety is both practical and future oriented. Sinn Féin would do well to acquaint themselves with the operational side of recruitment before making any more bogus commitments,” Deputy Farrell concluded.

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