No new Garda recruits for Sligo Leitrim in 2015

There were 687 Gardai across Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal in February this year, this is down from 796 in April 2010.

There were 687 Gardai across Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal in February this year, this is down from 796 in April 2010.

The loss of one hundred Gardai across the North West marks a major reduction in gardai in local and smaller garda stations.

Five new gardai were stationed in Co Donegal this year, but there were no new recruits to cover Sligo Leitrim.

Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Senator Marc Mac Sharry has criticised the Government for allocating only five new Garda recruits to the North West.

Mac Sharry said, “The loss of more than 100 officers to police our communities cannot be undone with an additional five garda recruits in Donegal.

“It is extremely important that Garda recruitment and the training of new officers is continuing but I think the Government needs to ramp up its efforts in this regard. The strength of the garda force nationally is now around 12,500 and there are a further 1,498 officers eligible to retire this year. This would leave the force at a seriously diminished level.

“I think many people in the North West will be at a total loss to understand why it took this Government until late last year to recognise the need for more recruitment and to finally take action.”

Last week the Leitrim Observer reported on an increase of major crimes in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. Senator MacSharry also noted this saying, “Under Fine Gael and Labour we have seen crime rates are on the increase and a prioritisation of recruiting Defence Forces personnel whilst maintaining the moratorium on recruitment into An Garda Síochána. I am all in favour of a strong Defence Forces contingent but I think many people recognise the urgent need to get more gardaí into our communities.”

Currently there are 12,800 gardaí in the force, which is 200 below the red line figure of 13,000 set by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

One of Fianna Fáil’s election promises includes restoring the strength of the Garda Force to 14,000.

Mac Sharry stated, “I do not believe we can have an appropriate and safe domestic policing and security strategy in place for all our communities for the North West and around the country without restoring garda numbers to this critical level.

“This Government needs to wake-up to the looming crisis further Garda retirements will have on the force and up the numbers in recruitment and training as a matter of urgency.”

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald earlier this year announced that 250 new gardaí will be recruited over the next six months.

AGSI voted to seek more armed gardaí and better training for those who carry guns.