Gardaí call for more resources after Leo Varadkar says job is ‘much harder’ now

Garda officials have called for more resources after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it has become “much more difficult” to be a Garda in recent years due to increased violence and disrespect towards members.

r Varadkar, who returns to the position of Taoiseach on Saturday, said the government is “interested in” pushing the use of body-worn cameras and hopes that will happen in the new year.

This was in response to Independent TD Michael Lowry, who raised several concerns about Garda numbers, morale and conditions during the Leader’s Questions.

The Tipperary politician said that “many gardaí will now tell you that they are now under tighter scrutiny than the criminals” and that they are being inundated with paperwork.

“I see more and more Garda members who are unhappy, unfulfilled and disillusioned,” Deputy Lowry said.

He added that there are concerns about the number of gardaí leaving the force and, at the other end of the scale, the “close number” who have chosen this career.

The Tánaiste said the government is in the process of reforming supervision of Lake Garda to set up the new police ombudsman’s office.

It is hoped that this will result in investigations into complaints being completed “more timely”.

“Being a Garda member has always been a tough job, but it’s gotten a lot harder in recent years with the changing complexity of requirements, increasing violence to be honest, and increasing disrespect towards An Garda Siochana,” said Mr Varadkar said.

Michael Lowry also stated that the recent amalgamation of major Garda districts is proving “impossible to control” and is making people “feel vulnerable” both in his constituency and across the country.

Responding to the comments, Gda Brendan O’Connor, President of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), said: “We appreciate Deputy Lowry’s raising these issues at Leinster House as they reflect the fears, feelings and reality of many of our Members reflect past years.

“Resignations are at an all-time high and the health and well-being of all Gardaí are being negatively impacted by the hazardous working conditions members are exposed to as attacks on Gardaí continue to rise. We continue to demand proper training and better equipment to face the ever-increasing threat.”

“It is fair to say that morale is low among the underserved frontline Gardai,” continued Gda O’Connor.

“The number of recruits mentioned by the Tánaiste must be seen in the context of the 300 members lost each year through retirements and the surge in resignations, meaning that the 1,800 new recruits promised in the last two budgets should they actually come about come, will not take place will lead to an increase in the proposed numbers.”

“We now call on the new Taoiseach to take immediate action and urgently discuss these matters with Attorney General Humphreys,” he added. Gardaí call for more resources after Leo Varadkar says job is ‘much harder’ now

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