SOCIAL Protection Minister Joan Burton has defended the Government’s policing policy in the wake of criticism at the funeral of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe.
Ms Burton was asked by Fianna Fail’s Willie O’Dea in the Dail about the comments of Fr Michael Cusack, the celebrant at the mass, who said “"serious reflection" was needed on cuts and the closure of Garda stations.
But Ms Burton defended Operation Fiacla, the Garda operation of moving to “smart policing” – which she insisted is putting moving more gardai on the frontline, even if numbers stay the same.
Sinn Fein’s Mary-Lou McDonald also asked about the closure of rural garda stations, and Ms Burton said “criminal methods had changed”, with gangs using the improved road network to access rural communities.
Ms McDonald also said Fianna Fail also planned to cut garda numbers when it was in Government.
Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins replied to Ms McDonald: “You’ve got your own way of reducing the gardai.”