The Social Democrats are today focussing on crime, with co-leader Róisín Shortall, in response to the shocking crimes in Drogheda and Dublin this week, highlighting the failures of investment in community policing and in communities, particularly disadvantaged communities, that have contributed to a growth in awful gangland activity.
Shortall said: “The immediate, very serious gangland challenges need to be tackled urgently. Gardaí must have all the resources they need to deal with the shocking incidents of violence we’ve seen this week.”
“However, there are longer term issues that must be dealt with. We’re seeing many places across the country where involvement in drugs and lawlessness has become attractive to a group of young people for many reasons. This is an issue that must be addressed at community level and at a policing level.
“For some unfathomable reason the last two governments, led by Fine Gael, have reduced the number of community gardaí in Dublin alone by 43% over nine years – from 510 to 298 Gardaí. Community Gardaí are a crucial part of the picture in addressing the progression into lawlessness at the earliest stage and the failure to resource this service is a failure of the responsibility of Government.
“At heart of all this is that this government is just not interested in the wider issue of equality. This Fine Gael government really only caters to the top 30% of the population. Targeted investment in areas of disadvantage has been reduced and we’re no longer seeing the investment in community necessary to stop these kind of incidents becoming the norm.
“Neither has this Fine Gael government been fully focussed on tackling the issue of drugs. Myself and nine other former ministers of state with responsibility for drugs took the unprecedented step of co-signing a statement calling on the Government to act urgently to support their own National Drugs Strategy, which is in danger of collapsing because of the undermining of the strategic partnerships with communities.
“If we don’t invest in communities, particularly communities ravaged by austerity, then all of us pay the price in the longer term.”
19th Jan 2020
Notes to editors:
|Details on the number of Community Gardaí and overall Gardaí referred to in the statement are included in the tables below. Full details by Division are available from the Department of Justice and Equality at the links: