Higher crime rate 'no surprise' given garda numbers
Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Wexford Cllr James Browne says there are 35 fewer gardai in County Wexford than there were in 2010, a key factor in the county's sky high burglary rate.
He said details of the garda numbers were contained in a recent parliamentary reply from Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald.
'The government launched Operation Thor to much fanfare last month with the aim of tackling the roaming gangs that are targeting our communities. 'The launch of the Garda operation was the first acknowledgment by Fine Gael and Labour that they have let crime spiral out of control in many parts of rural Ireland,' said Cllr Browne.
'The up-to-date information that I have received from the Department of Justice shows that the Gardai are still significantly under-resourced here in Wexford. In October, 2010, there were 316 Gardai in Wexford but in October 2015 this figure had dropped to 281 Gardai.'
Official figures released last week show that Wexford has the highest per capita burglary rate in the country. 'It's no surprise that crime has been on the increase in many parts of Wexford when you consider there are 35 fewer Gardai operating in our communities. It's well acknowledged that the best way to tackle opportunistic criminals is to have Gardai on the ground operating at the heart of our communities.
'What Wexford needs is serious investment in our police force to allow them carry out their job effectively. The Government says it is ramping up Garda recruitment, but the reality is the number they are taking on will barely cover the number of officers that are due to retire.
'We also need significant investment in the Garda fleet and further computerisation of the force to help get more Gardai out on the beat,' said Cllr Browne.
Cllr Browne's comments came as his political rival, Fine Gael Minister Paul Kehoe encouraged those interested in Wexford to apply for one of 600 new positions available with An Garda Síochána. The recruitment campaign is now underway and applications are being accepted on www.publicjobs.ie until January 5, 2016.
'The 600 new gardaí, to be recruited next year, will bring to 1,150 the total number of new recruits since the reopening of Templemore in September 2014.
'So far 295 new recruits have completed their training and are now are on the ground in communities nationwide as fully fledged members of An Garda Síochána. It is expected that successful candidates from the 2016 campaign will enter the Garda College from mid-2016.
'Serving as a member of An Garda Síochána is a great privilege, but the position comes with great responsibility. There are many capable and ambitious people in Wexford who would make an excellent contribution to the force and I would encourage anyone interested to apply.'