Garda changes simply shifting the deck chairs around - Tóibín
Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has stated that the shakeup of the Gardaí divisions throughout the state is simply a rearrangement of the deck chairs while the key issues of Gardaí funding is not being properly addressed.
An Teachta Tóibín stated:
"Villages, Towns and cities around Ireland are awash with drugs. In an eleven-year period there were a total of 6,697 poisoning deaths and deaths among drug users. This is an equivalent to the population of the town of Ballinasloe being wiped out. Sexual crime and violent crime has also seen steady increased. According to the CSO, 2,248 weapons and explosives offences were recorded in 2018 an increase of 10%. We have a gun-murder rate six times higher than England and that’s of course if you can believe the statistics from the Gardaí.
"Armed Gardaí have been patrolling the streets of Longford. Guns are being discharged in broad day light in Drogheda. Petrol bombs are being thrown at a court house in Trim. We have a never-ending murderous feud in north Dublin and we have just witnessed 2 children being convicted of the horrific murder of young girl.
"There is a crime and antisocial behaviour crisis in Ireland for which there is a large number of societal reasons. One of those has been the massive cuts that have been inflicted in the Garda force over the last 10 years. Garda numbers are only starting to recover and many of the new Gardaí do not yet have the experience or effectiveness of the Gardaí that were lost to the force.
"The administration of this proposed change will suck up significant Garda resources that would otherwise be focused on fighting crime. Change management is a costly side effect of continuously reshuffling structures. We have seen this in the HSE again and again. And the Gardaí have just recently been restructured on a divisional basis.
"In whole swathes of my own county on certain days there are no more than 5 Gardaí on duty. If there is an arrest to be made 2 Gardai will have to leave their stations reducing the available number of Gardaí to just 3 in an area well over 30 miles long. Ratoath has a population of 10,000 people but still has no Garda station. Instead of wasting money on change management, the government must invest in resources.
"What will happen to the Chief Superintendents that will be without a division? Will they be demoted and have their income reduced? No they won't, they will continue to have the income but without the division. Also different counties have different needs that can be tailored on a county basis. As the size of the divisional area increases this is harder to do. The regular engagement of elected reps and Gardaí within county Joint Policing Committees has helped in the flow of information and accountability. In multi-county divisions this is be now much harder."