Friday 13 December 2019

Minister Shatter rejects suggestions Garda murder related to cuts

Brian Hutton

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has rejected suggestions that the murder of Garda Adrian Donohoe is in any way linked to cutbacks and reforms in the force.

Reacting to the killing, rank-and-file Garda leader PJ Stone said younger officers were living in "fear and trepidation" that they are not getting the backing needed to do their job.

More than 60% of the force had less than ten years' service and have never before experienced a colleague being gunned down in cold blood, the general secretary of the Garda Representative Association warned.

"I am extremely concerned that the young men and women (in the force) out there are in fear and trepidation that they are not getting the support that is required to continue to provide a first class policing service," he said.

"We see the force being dismantled, the minister and the (Garda) commissioner (Martin Callinan) reassuring the public that there is adequate resources.

"When are they going to reassure members of the Garda Siochana who are expected to stand up - the thin blue line -and to continue and provide the type of heroic cover that has been given in this instance?"

But Mr Shatter insisted the murder was nothing to do with the austerity measures being implemented within the force.

"I think it is unfortunate that PJ Stone, in the aftermath of such a horrific murder, would make a comment like that," he said.

"I think any issue relating to reforms that are taking place within the Garda Siochana is an issue to be addressed on another day.

"He well knows and he should know that the murder of Adrian Donohoe is nothing to do with issues of resources.

"He well knows that the Garda Siochana has the full support of the government, the full support of myself as Minister for Justice, and they will continue to have that support."

Mr Shatter said Garda Donohoe lost his life because "bad people" were "intent on murder and mayhem and robbery".

"There's no issue to it today of relevance to resources or garda stations," he added.

"This has nothing to do with resources. This has to do with people who have no respect for human life."

Mr Shatter said Garda Donohoe was gunned down during a regular security escort operation, the like of which has been provided for decades.

"It's important that we ensure people engaged in criminality don't believe that it's open season to simply rob as they choose," he said.

"Quite clearly this was a planned operation.

"The tragedy is that members of An Garda Siochana were given no chance, they weren't given the opportunity to say anything or to engage and quite clearly the individuals in this instance had no respect for human life."

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