Tougher penalties urged over attacks on gardai
GARDAI want a mandatory life sentence imposed on anyone found guilty of the manslaughter of a member of the force.
Damien McCarthy, president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), last night called for stiffer prison penalties to be handed out if the victim of an assault was a garda.
Speaking ahead of today's annual conference in Westport, Mr McCarthy also warned that government plans to reduce the strength of the force from 14,500 to 13,000 by 2014 would put the lives of gardai at risk.
He said the force had already lost between 700 and 800 members to retirement in the past two years and in excess of a further 1,000 personnel would be eligible to retire early in the next 15 months.
Rank and file gardai are concerned their budget for this year will be blown on security for the upcoming visits of Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama. Mr McCarthy will tell their annual conference that they are very worried there will be no money left in the kitty by the end of next month.
Mr McCarthy will seek assurances from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan that there will be an additional allocation from the Government to cover the cost of security.
Meanwhile, he acknowledged that the Corrib 'rape tape' contained "some very highly inappropriate" comments.
But he pointed out that the remarks had been made in a private conversation and had not been aimed directly at anybody.
Mr McCarthy described it as an isolated incident and said it was not reflective of what happened in the garda force on a daily basis.