Pictured above: Cllr Paul McAuliffe, Deputy Niall Collins and Senator Mary White pictured at the party’s policy launch on crime. (Photo credits thejournal.ie)
FIANNA FÁIL HAS unveiled its policy on crime ahead of the general election.
Justice spokesperson Niall Collins unveiled the plan in Dublin today, along with the party’s latest election poster.
Fianna Fáil promises to increase the Garda force to 15,000 and more than double Garda reserve numbers to 2,500.
Collins noted that burglaries have increased by 40% in certain parts of the country since 2014. Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has previously said the increase in burglaries is Fianna Fáil’s fault as the Garda training college at Templemore was closed by the party.
ollins told reporters today that the Fine Gael Labour coalition could have lifted the moratorium on recruiting gardaí earlier than it did.
“When the crash happened recruitment right across the civil and public service ceased, not just in An Garda Síochána. It ceased everywhere.
Straight away when this government came into place they lifted the moratorium on recruitment into the civil service in critical areas as demand and as the pressure developed.
“They kept the moratorium of recruitment and training into An Garda Síochána right up until the back end of 2014. They chose to keep Templemore closed.”
Collins said it didn’t make sense that members were recruited into the Defence Forces and not An Garda Síochána.
He claimed that the government “brought the force to the cliff in terms of the headcount and the manpower capacity”, noting it has dipped below 12,500, adding: “There’s 1,500 gardaí who could retire today.”
Collins said there’s no reason recuitment can’t be ramped up now. He added that the party wants a Garda Inspectorate analysis to be done into re-opening closed garda stations.
Senator Mary White, the party’s general election candidate in Dublin Rathdown, described the closure of Stepaside Garda Station as “folly by Alan Shatter”, the former Justice Minister.
She said burglars have “very easy access” to the area via the M50 and the Luas.
It’s easy for the burglars to fly in and fly out, and also the Luas is problematic as well because burglars jump on the Luas and hop off the Luas, so we propose that gradaí should be seconded to the Luas … and to arrest people if they’re suspicious that they’re burglars.
As part of its policy on crime, Fianna Fáil also wants tougher sentences for repeat burglars, mandatory sentences on people who attack the elderly, and for criminals to pay their victims a sum of compensation.