Budget 2018 bolsters Fine Gael’s fight against crime through provisions for the recruitment of 800 additional Gardaí nationally next year and a further 500 civilian members of the force.
Cork Senator, Tim Lombard, said, “Budget 2018 provides a real boost to Fine Gael’s fight against crime. The justice sector has been allocated an additional €63 million for 2018, bringing total funding to €2.6 billion.
“This marks a continuation of Fine Gael’s commitment to tackling crime around the country. As a local Fine Gael representative I am particularly committed to ensuring that people and families feel safe in their homes and communities across Cork.
“The funding increase allows for the recruitment of 800 extra Gardaí next year which is very welcome.
“Fine Gael reopened the Garda training college in Templemore after Fianna Fáil closed it down, and we have a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021. Budget 2018 shows that we remain committed to increasing Garda numbers and the ongoing reform and modernisation of the police force.
“Also positive is the announcement that we will hire an additional 500 civilian staff in 2018. This frees up the Gardaí from administrative and technical tasks, increasing the numbers out on Cork streets and tackling crime where it occurs.
“Fine Gael has overseen the development of a modern force equipped for 21st century policing. The funding will be used to meet challenges including counter-terrorism, organised crime, and white collar crime.
“I am pleased to hear there is also provision to maintain targeted operations, such as Operation Thor. I applaud the Gardaí for the continued successes of Operation Thor, the initiative designed to protect our streets, communities and homes. Operation Thor has seen burglary statistics continue on a significant downward trend.
“We have previously invested heavily in the Garda fleet, with over 720 new vehicles coming on stream since the start of 2015. €6 million has been allocated to provide for Garda vehicles which will provide for up to 240 new vehicles across the country next year.
“I was also pleased to hear that the increased spending on Gardaí and police staffing will go hand in hand with a commitment to drive reform throughout the organisation.
“Minister Flanagan announced an additional €600,000 for the Policing Authority to provide for additional staffing, accommodation and other costs associated with its important work; and an additional €300,000 to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission to strengthen staffing resources including a new unit established in relation to Protected Disclosures.
“Fine Gael will continue to prioritise the fight on crime and I will work to ensure we do everything we can to protect our local Cork communities.”