New recruits will not solve chronic frontline shortage, warn garda supervisors
Garda supervisors have warned that new recruits into the force will not solve the chronic shortage of personnel available for frontline policing.
President of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, Tim Galvin said today it was a management myth that gardai had enough resources.
"On the frontline, it is like the loaves and fishes scenario.
"We provide an emergency service and we have heard many complaints that people are not getting the service they expect.
"People cannot get that service because we do not have the resources", he told the association's annual conference in Trim.
But the association welcomed the announcement by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald of an additional 250 new recruits to be taken into Templemore, bringing the overall number of recruits in training up to 550.
General secretary John Redmond said those recruits would boost the morale of the force with their input of fresh thinking and new ideas.
But Mr Galvin told the minister that on the frontline they were putting sticking plasters over the cracks in the hope that the system would not break.
The problem was that the system might survive but the men and women providing the service might not as work overload was becoming more acute.
He claimed the garda organisation was being asked to implement 21st century policing plans with 19th century policing plans and the lack of proper information technology to help them in carrying out their work was hindering their effectiveness.
Mrs Fitzgerald said the government was committed to investing in information technology and other equipment needed to combat issues such as cyber crime.
She said there had been no investment in those areas during the Celtic Tiger era and it would take time to fill the gaps that had been created as a result.
But the government was determined to tackle those issues and would shortly receive a comprehensive report on what was needed by the force.
The minister also praised the commitment and dedication of gardai, as had been shown in recent investigations.
She said it was very unfair to paint the whole force with allegations of wrongdoing because of problems that had arisen in some areas.