Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe announced in last month’s budget that Garda funding will rise by €81m, which he said will deliver up to 700 new gardaí on the beat.
Though this figure is 100 below the mark promised, these officers cannot be posted around the country fast enough. There’s plenty for them to do.
Apart at all from the usual borderlands banditry and looming Brexit challenges, gardaí, and the resources they need to do their job are a pretty low ebb.
Earlier this year gardaí in the busy borderlands town of Ballybofey, Co Donegal, warned that the town had not had a patrol car for more than six months.
The 24 gardaí based there often used their own cars to get around, hardly the kind of deterrent needed to cow those attacking businesses in the region. Sadly, this vulnerability is part of a nationwide pattern.
A few weeks ago we reported that on one night only two gardaí were available to patrol Cork City streets and that despite the pressure of conducting three murder investigations the number of detectives in the city has almost been halved.
That trend continues. Gardaí given specialist training,presumably at great expense, cannot fill in a promised sexual offences investigation unit for West Cork because they cannot be replaced for day-to-day duties.
Resources may be the primary issue and that can be solved only one way but it is hard not to feel more could be done.