Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, and the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, to immediately escalate the deployment of hundreds of Gardaí currently assigned to administrative and office duties. Deputy McGrath was speaking as concern around the scale of the drug epidemic in the Carrick-on-Suir and Clonmel areas continues to rise:
“The Minister has confirmed that The Garda Commissioner intends to recruit a total of 600 Garda Staff (civilian) and that the recruitment of these additional Garda Staff will allow him to nationally redeploy this year a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to the frontline policing duties for which they were trained.
While that is very much to be welcomed it is a measure that has been called for over the course of many years now. Where was the sense of urgency?
We already have some of the lowest assignment levels of new gardai to Clonmel and indeed the Tipperary District. It makes no sense therefore to have what Gardaí we do have stuck behind desks when they have spent years training for active police work.
We need the Commissioner to prioritise this issue. We also need to know from the Minister when he is going to assign resources to allow the Commissioner to fund Specialist Bureaus such as the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
This Bureau leads on the strategy for tackling drugs and works with Garda Divisional Drug Units nationwide and in our communities in demand reduction and supply reduction at local level.
That is what we need, and we need it now,” concluded Deputy McGrath.