GARDA officers are turning up "half-hearted" at crime scenes because they have not got the resources to carry out their jobs, rank-and-file leaders have claimed.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents the vast majority of the force, warned that members were being reduced to public relations exercises rather than crime-fighting.
John Parker, GRA president, said younger recruits were particularly increasingly looking to quit their jobs and emigrate because of austerity measures.
"You turn up to the scene of a crime and a half-hearted effort, because of the lack of facilities there," he said.
"It's a PR exercise often where you go out and you record the issue as much as you can and you try to allocate as much time as you can to the investigation of that crime.
"However, you move on and there's another crime being reported or you've to follow up in a day or a few days.
"The manpower is not there for a serious follow up to crime. On previous occasions what you would do is door-to-door (inquiries), you would saturate the area.
"These facilities are not there now."
The grassroots Garda leader said it "is not good enough" as a public service.
"We need the facilities to deal with this," he added.
"We need the manpower. We need the man hours. We need people out there in the communities dealing with these issues."
Mr Parker said there is nothing more disheartening than turning up to work to find a loss of resources -vehicles, equipment or manpower - and any unsolved crime is partially down to resources.
The GRA president, who speaks for 11,200 rank-and-file gardai, made his remarks ahead of the opening of its annual conference in Westport, Co Mayo.
Mr Parker said morale has hit rock bottom and something needs to be done to rectify the crisis facing the force.
John Healy, deputy general-secretary of the GRA, said officers facing bankruptcy and threatened with losing their homes are coming forward for help at a rate of one a day.
Some were trying to work out new arrangements with their mortgage lenders but many more are looking at emigrating, he said.
"Many of them see that as the only option," he added.