Joe O’Shea column: This Government is chronically uninterested in the safety of people in Ireland
‘Cork, like a lot of other towns and cities outside of Dublin, is facing a chronic shortage of frontline gardai’
If you ever wondered why there are no gardai on the streets, there’s a simple answer. There are no gardai on the streets.
Take my home town of Cork. The Garda Representative Association looked at the number of frontline officers on patrol or street duty at any time in Cork city and found that on a regular basis that number is two.
That’s not two units of 10 guards. Or even two squad cars. It’s TWO uniformed gardai.
The GRA’s review found on one Saturday night in the centre of our nation’s second city – as thousands of people poured out of pubs and clubs – there were just two frontline guards to cover the entire centre of a city that now has more than 200,000 people.
Now, is this because gardai in Cork are lazy and there’s a load of them back in the station eating snackboxes?
No. It’s because Cork, like a lot of other towns and cities outside of Dublin, is facing a chronic shortage of frontline gardai.
The GRA estimates around 125 new officers are needed to bring Cork up to even basic strength.
The force in Cork – and you have to believe in a lot of other towns around Ireland – is under severe strain.
The dedicated sexual crimes unit on Leeside had to stop taking on cases at the end of last year because there were not enough trained officers to cope with the caseload.
This is not a failure of the Garda in Cork, or even the Garda top brass in the city. You talk to frontline gardai and they will tell you – when it comes to getting the most basic support and resources, if you are not from a division in Dublin nobody wants to know.
This is what we have seen for over a decade now. When it comes to any kind of investment or even basic attention the “regions” may as well get out the begging bowl.
This is not an anti-Dublin dig – God knows communities in the capital have suffered from a decade of austerity, vicious cuts to basic services, official inaction and mind-boggling incompetence at best.
But Cork city centre is becoming a very unpleasant place to be.
We have a serious drug problem, we have gangs openly drinking all day on our main streets and we now have – for the first time – aggressive begging, a constant harassment of people trying to go about their business.
A chronically understrength Garda cannot be expected to deal with this.
The problem is a chronically uninterested Government.
Fred is distraught with the ineptitude of An Garda Siochana. Regina Doherty had no answers on This Week (the Sunday Afternoon and late night time RTE TV programme.) Aine Lawlor asked her about the “Lawless Border”. It is a shocking indictment on our Government that a Minister could not reply, especially as Brexit poses such severe consequences for the Island of Ireland. This shows how Detached this Ship of Fools are from the number of Gangland and Border threats that are growing? No doubt it is a sad day for this country, the passing of Gay Bryne, a wise, and brilliant man. Hope this Ship of Fools don’t use the next month diverting from the current Scandals and using the Legend’s passing as a political stunt? Is it that the work culture in An Garda Siochana is held hostage to a sickness culture from sheer disillusionment? Fred https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/huge-variations-across-state-in-number-of-garda%C3%AD-on-sick-leave-1.3933564
Links that should be a source of concern:-
474 on “Light Duties in 2017”. What are the present figures? We need to know.