Pearse Doherty lambasts Micheál Martin over ‘soft-touch’ on crime and policing

The Sinn Féin TD criticized Tanaiste Micheál Martin over what he percieved to be a misgovernment of An Garda Síochána which has led to spikes in crime.

Mr. Doherty told the Dáil that, under Fine Gael, the morale of An Garda Síochána was at an ‘all-time low’, and that this was contributing heavily to the decline in available rank-and-file gardai. Mr. Doherty also said that this was contributing to an overall spike in criminality.

With the threat of industrial action looming and thus fewer garda on the streets during some of Ireland’s busiest annual events, the deepening row between the GRA and Commissoner Drew Harris has brought to light the lack of confidence in the ranks of the gardai. A recent garda ballot shows that 99% of gardai are not confident in Mr. Harris’ competency as a garda commissioner.

Mr. Doherty characterised the current situation in An Garda Síochána as a “crisis” and that a “soft-touch” approach to crime had been adopted under Fine Gael.

The Sinn Féin TD cited the coalition government failing to meet recruitment targets every year, while existing gardai continue to dwindle in number as they no longer see the career as sustainable.

Mr. Doherty also criticized Minister for Justice Helen McEntee for her “hands-off” approach to the ongoing situation and has asked her to become more involved and help the GRA and the commissioner come to some form of agreement.

In response, Micheál Martin claimed that yesterday’s record-breaking drug haul was evidence that his government were not ‘soft on crime’. He also stated that €2 billion had been allocated to the Gardai this year.

The Tanaiste ended saying that the row between the GRA and garda commissioner was best settled through ‘industrial relations machinery’.

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