Kerrane: ‘More Gardaí leaving than starting’

Sinn Féin TD for Roscommon/Galway Claire Kerrane has told the Taoiseach that his Government’s targets on Garda recruitment are not being met.

Deputy Kerrane said more Gardaí are now leaving than starting, which she described as “worrying for rural communities” – especially as some Garda stations were closed in recent years.

Raising the recruitment and retention issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil, Deputy Kerrane said: “I recently attended a community meeting with local Gardaí on anti-social behavioural issues in a town in my constituency.

“The Gardaí at the meeting said this is a priority area but that there were no Gardaí to put out on the beat. This is not unique to one town. This is happening across the board where anti-social behaviour is being inflicted on communities.

“This is not the fault of Gardaí, of course, but it is very worrying for these communities. It is particularly worrying for rural communities in which Garda stations have been closed in recent years”.

On the issue of the Government’s recruitment targets, she added: “There were to be 800 Gardaí recruited last year but fewer than 120 actually enlisted. This is an issue of great concern for all of us with regard to keeping our communities safe. It is also clear now that more Gardaí are leaving the force than starting – some 107 resigned last year. That is not to mention the 400 retirements that occur every year. These Gardaí are not being replaced”.

The TD called for action from Government and for proposals put forward by the AGSI to be considered.