Middle-ranking gardaí say criminals know that the force is under-resourced – and are able to escape patrols by ramming garda vehicles.
The Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said €27m is being invested in garda vehicles in a bid to tackle crime, particularly in rural areas, and has confirmed that at least 500 gardai will be recruited next year.
After a six-year hiatus, Templemore Garda college is back in action, with the latest batch of 94 new recruits passing out today.
However, the AGSI which represents middle-ranking gardaí, says a recent spate of ramming incidents shows that criminals know the force is under-resourced.
John Jacobs, Deputy General Secretary of the AGSI, said: "Over the last couple of days we have had a number of gardaí who have been hurt by rammings and it does have an impact on morale.
"Part of the problem would be, in our mind, that criminals are aware that back-up is a long way removed from the incident and consequently they can ram a car and they can get away."
In recent days four gardaí have been injured when their patrol cars were rammed.
The Justice minister was asked if it was being tackled.
Ms Fitzgerald said: "We have a number of very mobile gangs, that is why we are investing in garda vehicles, €27m as opposed to €4m previously.
"That's why we have the investment in new high-speed vehicles which will be in rural areas.
"I am not going to comment on the budget except to say that clearly we need further investment in An Garda Síochána in almost every area."
She was also asked if the closure of garda stations, particularly in rural areas, was a mistake and replied that the mistake was that of the previous government.
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said rural crime was being tackled differently now.
She said: "Yes we had a number of rural garda station closures, but I think it is really important that we don’t think about policing in terms of bricks and mortar and making sure that the stations are maintained.
"I think it is much more important, certainly from the feedback that we've got from victims and the community, people want that human interaction.
"They want the gardaí to be out there, particularly people who are living in isolated rural areas."