Dáil debates

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Community Safety and Preventing Crime: Statements


7:55 pm

Photo of Patricia RyanPatricia Ryan (Kildare South, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I commend the members of An Garda Síochána on the work they have done in the trying circumstances caused by Covid-19. Unfortunately, they are being let down by underinvestment, neglect and a system that needs root-and-branch reform. The report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland was launched with great fanfare in September 2018. It was promptly left to gather dust on a shelf in the Department of Justice. The previous Government developed a habit of paying for reports on how to fix issues and then ignoring their recommendations. That includes the Duffy Cahill report, which was intended to prevent another Clerys-style closure. Unfortunately, because the Government failed to implement that report, the Debenhams workers have now been on the picket line for more than 220 days seeking a fair resolution to their dispute.

In a recent parliamentary question, I asked why no gardaí were rostered to be present in Monasterevin Garda station for two full consecutive days earlier this month. The question was disallowed by the Ceann Comhairle because the Minister has no responsibility for the matter and it was a question for the Garda Commissioner. People in local Garda management tell me they do not have enough gardaí. Surely this is a matter on which the Minister can comment. Monasterevin is not the only station in Kildare and Laois with low garda numbers. The report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland heralded a new approach to policing and community safety, with the key aim of ensuring that police are more visible in communities. If the Government takes one thing from this report, it should be the issue of Garda visibility. It is a massive deterrent to all types of crime. I also appeal for an increase in resources for County Kildare. Kildare is a large county and is divided into two constituencies, Kildare North and Kildare South. The entire county has two Garda motorbikes and only one 4x4 vehicle. That is simply not good enough. I am asking for this complement to be increased. Surely that would help.


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