Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and the leader of the association representing the country’s rank and file gardaí have become embroiled in yet another row — this time over the Defence Forces.
Mr Shatter accused Garda Representative Association (GRA) president Damien McCarthy of “denigrating the role of the Defence Forces”.
He was reacting to a statement made by Garda McCarthy who questioned why Mr Shatter was continuing to allow recruitment into the military while at the same time imposing a recruitment embargo on the Garda.
“Is Ireland under attack? Is there a war we are about to join? Because we are under attack in the war on crime at home, right here in Ireland,” said Garda McCarthy.
Mr Shatter told delegates at the annual Association of Garda Superintendents conference in Athlone that he “doesn’t believe anything is to be gained by any member of An Garda Siochána denigrating the role of our Defence Forces”.
He added that he hoped such a comment wouldn’t be repeated again and called on Garda McCarthy to “reflect on what he had said”.
Garda McCarthy, who was attending the GRA’s annual conference, which was also on in Athlone yesterday, maintained he never denigrated the Defence Forces and never would. He said it was unacceptable for Mr Shatter to accuse him of doing so.
“It simply didn’t happen. I have the utmost respect for each and every one of the members of the Defence Forces and so have all my colleagues in the GRA.”
He added that he was “slightly puzzled” as to why Mr Shatter wanted him to reflect on what he’d said.
During the GRA conference Garda McCarthy stated Ireland was now the only country in Europe with no police officers in training. He urged the minister for justice to restart Garda recruitment as the force’s strength had been weakened by a large number of recent retirements.
Last Tuesday Garda McCarthy got into a row with Mr Shatter when he accused him of being soft on crime, which the minister denied.
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