Speaking in the Oireachtas Justice Committee this morning, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD questioned the Garda Commissioner on the issue of organised crime and the closure of garda stations across the State, and called for CAB monies to be put back in to the communities who suffer most from criminality and drug dealing.
The Donegal North East TD said;
“Today I relayed the fears of rural communities directly to the Garda Commissioner that the closure of garda stations is having a negative impact on those communities. The commissioner cannot remove gardaí from communities and then expect that this will not result in them losing touch with the people they are there to serve. This has been the experience in other countries. The Garda Representative Association have made it clear that the cutbacks in policing are not working, and the Garda Commissioner didn’t convince anyone otherwise in the Justice Committee today.
“It is quite clear that the gardaí would not make these cutbacks if the budgets available were designed according to need rather than according to the cutbacks agenda of the Fine Gael and Labour government.
“I also asked the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan today about what the gardaí are going to do to address not only organised crime in our communities, but also organised crime in our prisons. The culture just appears to continue when people are convicted and jailed.
“There is a real need for a multi-agency approach to tackling crime from prevention and support measures at community level led by the gardaí and the HSE to rehabilitation in our prisons and of course resourcing the Gardaí Síochána to confront and convict those involved in criminality.
“There are people involved in crime in this country that destroys the morale of communities and Sinn Féin is of the very clear view that the Criminal Assets Bureau has a responsibility to go after the criminals who are still driving freely through our streets in their big cars bought with money earned from wrecking communities. We have long since called for the proceeds of crime seized by CAB to be ring-fenced and put back in to the communities who suffered most directly from this criminality.”