Former garda Robbie Gallagher, has said low recruitment figures into the force played a role in last week's Dublin riots. The Monaghan-based Senator sits on the Oireachtas Justice Committee. This week, the Garda Commissioner came in front of the committee to answer questions about the way the force responded to the violence in the capital. Following the three and a half hour meeting, Senator Gallagher said everyone including Drew Harris agreed "learnings had to be taken away" from the Dublin situation because there were "shortcomings".
However, Robbie Gallagher said the increase in Ireland's population in the past 20 years has not been matched with an increase in garda numbers. In fact the figure for garda recruitment went the opposite direction. Senator Gallagher also appeared to agree with comments made earlier this week by Cavan-Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, who said there is a noticeable lack of gardaí on patrol in this area.
"There's something like 13,880 members of Gardaí on duty - that's the lowest figure in five years," Senator Gallgher told the Joe Finnegan Show, "And, if you go back to 2008, which, is 15 years ago, we had 14,200 members. And, when you factor in the population increase, like, some people say the population of this country has increased by almost a million in the last 20 years.
"We've been saying that we have an issue with regards to recruitment and retention in the gardaí and that needs to be addressed, because I would pose the question, Joe: When was the last time any of us have seen members of Gardaí patrol our streets?"