By Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter
Fianna Fáil has said it will increase the Garda force to 15,000 if elected, but cannot promise to reopen all closed Garda stations.
Launching the party’s crime policy this morning, justice spokesman Niall Collins said it would not be possible to reopen all of the 139 closed garda stations as some of the sites have already been sold on.
Describing the closures as a “retrograde step” Mr Collins said communities had been left “completely isolated and vulnerable".
But he said it would be up to a new garda inspectorate to assess whether it would be viable or not to reopen these stations.
However, Senator Mary White said Fianna Fáil would commit to reopening Stepaside garda station in Dublin if elected to power.
Mr Collins said: “Safety across the country has suffered under this Government and there is an urgent need to acknowledge and address this decline."
The party are now promising to bring the force up to 15,000 and will more than double to garda Reserves to 2,500.
Mr Collins said: “Fine Gael and Labour closed 139 Garda stations, saving a measly €556,000 a year, while rural communities are left unprotected.
“This policy was extremely short-sighted and has increased rural isolation.”
He said people what to see more gardai on the beat and more gardaí in communities.
Fianna Fáil would also provide for 3,433 new cars including 412 high-powered garda cars.