Local Garda numbers will “reach dangerously low levels” over the next two years unless the Minister for Justice “immediately” lifts the ban on Garda recruitment.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil city councillor Peter Keane, who was speaking following Minister Alan Shatter’s confirmation this week that a further 1,200 gardaí will be eligible to retire over the next two years – 25 per cent more than was originally expected.
Cllr Keane said with many retirements due to take place in Galway in 2013, “major gaps will appear in front-line policing” in the city.
He added that the minister is “refusing to lift the ban on recruitment” and is planning more closures of small Garda stations and district Garda headquarters. Among the stations earmarked for a major downgrade is Salthill District Headquarters.
“Communities across Galway are extremely concerned about the rumours at a time when the rate of burglaries, muggings and thefts is increasing,” he said. “Our local Garda resources are already stretched to their limit and we cannot afford to shut down or downgrade more stations at this time.”
While acknowledging the need to “meet savings targets in the Budget next year”, he said this could be achieved through other methods.