Fianna Fáil has said it will increase the headcount in An Garda Síochána by 2,000 at a cost of €47 million per year.
At a briefing to launch the party’s drug and crime policies in Dublin, the party’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said that, should the party be in a position to form the next Government, a number of heightened measures would be employed in order to deal with the expansion of gangland crime across the country.
The recent days have seen a spate of violent crimes including the horrific murder and dismemberment of 17-year-old Keane Mulready-Woods in Drogheda and the killing of Cameron Blair in Cork.
Mr O’Callaghan said that his party would reform the law so that gangland figures could be dealt with in a similar manner to that in which the Provisional IRA were tackled.
He also said that harsher legislation would see a belief on the part of a Garda chief superintendent that someone was involved in a gangland crime be rendered admissible as evidence in criminal trials.
Mr O’Callaghan, the party’s TD for Dublin Bay South, said that the current Government “has done virtually nothing to confront the threat of gangland crime”.
Such crime has become a pillar of the election campaign, with Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar spending his morning in Drogheda in order to reassure the public there that the gangland feud which has erupted in the town in recent months will be met head-on with increased Garda resources.
Mr O’Callaghan, who began the press conference with an expression of condolences to the family of Cameron Blair, the 20-year-old Cork student stabbed to death the previous night, said that his party would raise the number of gardaí from 14,000 to 16,000.
“We need to confront gangland criminality. We know from how we dealt with these issues in Limerick that they can be defeated if there is a concerted effort on the part of the political system to fund the gardaí,” he said.
He added he would be prepared to march in solidarity on January 25 with the people of Drogheda at a protest to be held against the feud which has enveloped the town.
With regard to the killing of Keane, Mr O’Callaghan expressed his belief that the horrendous murder would represent a “turning point” with regard to the savage feud in the north-east.