21 January 2006

Gardaí criticise justice minister

Daily Ireland

21/01/2006

Justice minister Michael McDowell is “hoodwinking” the public into accepting a police force that is not properly trained, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) warned yesterday.
PJ Stone of the association said Mr McDowell’s plans for a 4,000-strong unpaid volunteer Garda reserve force was a smokescreen to disguise the failure to equip and resource the Garda force properly.
“This is a smokescreen, as far as we are concerned, in relation to a force that is not being properly resourced.
“There are members of the force going out on duty, and the feedback from our annual general meetings is that they are actually concerned for their own safety, and the best response from this minister is to introduce a reserve force,” Mr Stone said.
“The reality on the ground, even taking into account the numbers of people being introduced into the force, is that there are simply not enough members of the force to be detailed for duty.”
He said Mr McDowell’s response to bring in a reserve force was an admission there were not enough fully qualified members of the Garda to do the job.
Mr Stone said Mr McDowell was trying to “hoodwink” the general public into accepting a force that was not properly trained.
Mr McDowell had earlier called on Garda associations – including the Association of Garda Superintendents – to back him over plans for a 4,000-strong volunteer Garda reserve force.
The minister claimed the force had to change in order to prosper.

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