33% decrease in Galway Community Gardaí is criticised

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There has been a 33% decrease in Galway’s community gardaí, according to Councillor Mairéad Farrell.

Cllr Farrell, who will be Sinn Féin’s Galway West candidate in the next election, said that she is appalled at the loss of these gardaí across the county, which fell from 21 in 2011 to just 12 in 2017.

Figures obtained by her party colleague and Justice spokesperson in the Dáil for Sinn Féin, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, show that across the state the total number of community gardaí in the force has fallen from 1112 in 2010 to 691 in 2017.

Cllr Mairéad Farrell said that the government has ‘no interest in investing in Community Policing’.

“As elected representatives, we know from working with designated community gardaí that the difference a good community Garda can make to an area and to individuals and families is huge. It can be transformative. Community Gardaí can build up relationships and trust with people at risk of offending, particularly young people, and direct them in a more positive direction, such as through the Garda Youth Diversion Projects,” she said.

The Galway Councillor said that she has seen for herself the difference that the gardaí can make.

“Failing to make these kinds of investments could undo the good work that was built up, particularly in disadvantaged communities, over many years.

“The National Model of Community Policing was launched in 2009, amid much fanfare, and it does represent a very positive approach. However, it has been ignored,” Cllr Farrell added.