The number of Community Gardai in Donegal has plummeted from 35 to just two in the last seven years, new figures reveal.
Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn brought the figures to light today after his party’s Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD received national statistics.
Senator Mac Lochlainn said he is shocked by the collapse in the numbers of Community Gardaí across Donegal.
Community policing occurs where Gardaí and members of the community and statutory and voluntary agencies work together to prevent crime and vandalism, helping to reduce rural fear and improving the overall quality of life.
Senator Mac Lochlainn criticised the government for the local drop in figures. “It shows that this Government have had, and continue to have, absolutely no interest in investing in Community Policing,” he said.
“As public representatives, we know from working with designated Community Gardaí that the difference a good community Garda can make to an area and to individuals and families is huge. It can be transformative. Community Gardaí can build up relationships and trust with people at risk of offending, particularly young people, and direct them in a more positive direction, such as through the Garda Youth Diversion Projects.
“They also improve public confidence in policing locally, and ingrain themselves in community activity locally. I have seen myself the difference that Community Gardaí can make,” Senator Mac Lochlainn said.
Senator MacLochlainn said the failure to make investments in Community Policing could undo the good work that was built up, particularly in disadvantaged communities, over many years.
He added “The National Model of Community Policing was launched in 2009, amid much fanfare, and it does represent a very positive approach. However, it has been ignored.
“It is increasingly clear that successive Governments have zero interest in Community Policing and is unwilling to invest in it. The fact that the number of Community Gardaí has fallen off a cliff, and indeed is still falling, is proof of that. It is scandalous. The Minister needs urgently to start reversing these decreases.”Tags: