12 February 2016
By Tom Collins
The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, Minister for Justice and Dublin Mid-West Candidate, Frances Fitzgerald TD, and Minister for Defence and Cork South Central Candidate, Simon Coveney TD, today (Friday) set out the party’s plans for ensuring a more effective and efficient justice system.
Speaking at a party event in Cork City, An Taoiseach said:
“Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan to keep the recovery going is founded on three steps: more and better jobs; making work pay; and investing in better services. If we can keep the recovery going, Fine Gael is committed to investing in 10,000 additional frontline staff. This includes 1,800 Gardaí. We also want to free up Gardaí from desks through civilianisation. Fine Gael’s plan is based on using the resources created by a strong economy to invest in more Gardaí and more resources such as Garda vehicles and IT. This will ensure a visible, mobile, dynamic policing force, to keep communities safe and bring criminals to justice.
“What the last week has shown us is that we need a government that will prioritise the resourcing of An Garda Síochána. That is why Fine Gael re-opened the Templemore Garda Training College after Fianna Fáil closed it down. That is why we must keep the recovery going so we continue to ensure 600 new Garda recruits each year. Ireland needs a government that will ensure criminals will be prosecuted. That is why we established a second Special Criminal Court and resourced the Gardaí to establish a Drugs and Organised Crime Unit last year. We must keep the recovery going to ensure An Garda Síochána have the resources to protect our State.
“More Gardaí, new equipment and tougher sentences – that is how you take on the criminals. Our record stands in stark contrast to Fianna Fáil, who shut down Templemore, ignored ICT, failed to replace the fleet of Garda cars, and starved the Gardaí of resources. Their record on law and order is shameful while Fine Gael, despite inheriting a wrecked economy from Fianna Fáil, has prioritised our police force.”
Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald said “Fine Gael have always been the party of Law and Order. We have not, and will not, stand idly by as thugs threaten the public safety of our communities or the sanctity of our homes. We will stand up to the ruthless gangs who show such scant regard for human life. We will stand up to those who outrageously threaten Ireland’s journalists. Fine Gael will stand firm and unequivocal in defending freedom of the press. We can be proud of our record of investment. We ended the Garda recruitment moratorium. We reopened the Garda College. We delivered massive investment in Garda vehicles and an unprecedented investment in Garda ICT. We provided additional overtime and resources to tackle burglaries and gangland crime. We restarted investment in the Garda air support unit.”
Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney said “Fine Gael is not only committed to increasing Garda resources, we are also committed to increasing the resources of the Defence forces. In Government we published a 10 year ambitious strategy for Defence, and if re-elected we will deliver on that ambition with more investment, more equipment and a modernisation of the force. The partnership between the Gardai and the Defence Forces is a very strong one and will be a priority for Fine Gael in terms of security and Defence Forces policy.”
Fine Gael is the only party with a Long Term Economic Plan to keep the recovery going so that we can build on the progress already made to ensure more Gardaí, protecting communities, defending the State.