31/03/2015

Cuts In Garda Resources Putting Communities At Risk - FF

Almost 6 out of every 10 requests for armed escorts for the transportation of dangerous criminals were denied last year, according to new figures obtained by Fianna Fáil.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins questioned the Minister for Justice who confirmed that the prison service requested an armed garda escort for prisoner transfers on 166 occasions last week. Only 69 of these requests could be granted.

Deputy Collins has said it's another example of cuts in garda resources putting communities at risk.

He said: "It is shocking to think that so many violent prisoners are being transported through our streets without an armed guard. The requests for armed escorts are only made when the prison service believes that a convicted criminal is dangerous enough to attempt an escape or to pose a very serious threat to public safety. It is completely unacceptable that only 4 out of every 10 requests could be filled last year.

"This is clearly a resources issue. Garda resources have been slashed to the bone. Numbers in the force have fallen far below what the Government itself has admitted is a safe level. We are facing a retirement exodus from the force, with no new qualified gardaí ready to fill the major gaps in frontline policing. Taking into consideration the officers who are eligible to retire right now, the numbers who are on sick leave on any given day and the numbers on incentivised career breaks, the reality is that the number of active members on the force could drop way below 11,000 tomorrow."

(CD/MH)

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