Accusations of bias in ‘Dublin-centric’ Garda deployment

The Government has been accused of being “Dublin-centric” after it emerged that almost half of the new Garda recruits who have been assigned to Garda divisions in the last three years have been stationed in Dublin.

Accusations of bias in ‘Dublin-centric’ Garda deployment

Of the 981 recruits placed between 2015 and 2017, 472 went to one of the six Dublin divisions.

That compares to just nine across all of the Cork city and county divisions and just nine across the whole of Galway, the country’s third largest county by population.

In fact, with 93 recruits over the three years, Dublin’s north central region got almost the same number as Tipperary (31), Waterford (30), and Limerick (33) put together.

The bulk of the recruits appear to be concentrated in the counties surrounding Dublin.

For example, the 13th largest county by population, Louth, has one of the highest allocations of new recruits in the country at 49.

That is one less than Kildare, which has got 50 new recruits over the last three years.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said it was very important that Garda resources were fairly distributed throughout the country based on the needs of different areas.

“Although Dublin will have greater demands it would be helpful if explanations were provided as to the basis upon which decisions are taken to allocate new gardaí to different regions,” he said.

However, his party leader, Micheál Martin, accused the Government of being Dublin-centric and failing to take into account the needs of the regions outside the capital.

He said the numbers for Cork division were low given that it is the second-largest city in Ireland.

“The regions are being left behind,” said Mr Martin.

“Crime is still a significant issue in rural Ireland. The Government has failed to take that into account resulting in the imbalance.

“It is something I will be raising with the minister for justice.”

The Irish Farmers’ Association said it had been campaigning for an increased Garda presence in rural areas to tackle crime and create a greater sense of community.

“Community-based gardaí are the most effective tool in policing a country like Ireland,” it said. “The continued recruitment of new Garda members, and their allocation in rural areas, or the reallocation of experienced gardaí to rural areas, will go a long way to restoring a sense of security to rural dwellers.”

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the Garda Commissioner was responsible for the distribution of personnel and he had no direct role in the matter.

He said a distribution model was used which takes into account population, crime trends, and the policing needs of each individual Garda division.

“Where a deficiency in resources is identified, the matter is considered fully and addressed accordingly,” the organisation said. “It is the responsibility of the divisional officer to allocate personnel within his/her division.”

Mr Flanagan said the Government has a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, comprising 15,000 garda members, 2,000 reserve members, and 4,000 civilians.

Garda numbers are expected to hit 13,500 by the end of this year, 500 more than the end of 2016.

More in this section