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Don't make us pay for Queen's party - gardai

OUTRAGED gardai claim their resources are being recklessly stretched because the Government "hosted a party" for President Obama and Queen Elizabeth but are "now reneging on paying for it".

The massive security operations around the visits of the US President and the queen of England earlier this year cost around €36m.

And now the Garda Representative Association is accusing the Government of not coughing up the cash.

The association's general secretary, PJ Stone, said: "Our political elite welcomed two of the most recognisable heads of state in the world to Ireland in May but has continued to resist paying for the security operation."

In a hard-hitting editorial for the Garda Review magazine, he argues that "policing resources have been reduced to recklessly endanger our members' safety and expose the public to perilous risk".

He also hit out at cutbacks which have left patrol cars being withdrawn at 300,000km and not replaced.



SUFFER

While he agrees with this for safety reasons, "simple calculations would suggest that half of the money owed to the garda budget (for the visits) would purchase new patrol cars for every garda district in the country -- an abundance that would serve us for the next five years".

Mr Stone said that the cutbacks were having a negative effect on serving gardai and "each member (of the force) is tasked with more work and has to suffer the consequences of the short-comings in service delivery. Their workloads are punitive."

He again condemned the recruitment embargo saying there were "insufficient staff levels to fulfil even the most basic of policing plans," and said that five gardai were hospitalised after Halloween in Ballyfermot, Dublin.

Mr Stone said this was "in stark contrast" to reports that Justice Minister Alan Shatter "has successfully argued to continue recruitment in the Defence Forces; we understand this is to satisfy overseas peacekeeping commitments".

At the GRA conference last April the association said "the security costs of the state visits must be met by extra funding otherwise the policing service would be reduced and members would be cynically exposed to unacceptable dangers. These chickens have come home to roost," he concluded.

kfoy@herald.ie


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