Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Public Accounts Committee

Appropriation Accounts 2022
Vote 20 - An Garda Síochána

9:30 am

Photo of Imelda MunsterImelda Munster (Louth, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

It nearly tore the town apart.

The fear was palpable.

This information comes from the Commissioner’s own people - I am not making it up. A report that was furnished or a submission made stated that, on a daily basis, it is now accepted that there will not be a garda on the beat. The statistics for May 2023 show there were 146 gardaí in the Drogheda-Dunleer-Clogherhead district. In December 2021, the figure was 152. Following the feud, the murders, the daylight shootings and all that happened, we are down six gardaí, which means one fewer garda per shift. It is stated here in black and white that it is now accepted that there will not be a garda on the beat. How is that in any way best practice? Where does community policing fit in? Here is a town that went through hell. We begged and pleaded for additional services. Bear in mind, those directly involved in the feud, the main instigators, are not behind bars. They are still out there. The feud is creeping back in and I can name areas in the town where it is creeping back in. Parents are being threatened again, people are looking for money, there are petrol bomb attacks, parents are afraid for their lives and there is open drug dealing. What are the lessons learned? Why would gardaí be withdrawn from an area that went through so much and that needs and was promised a particular focus? We are actually worse off now than we were. How is that good policing?