Garda body highlights 'sense of trepidation' among members
The Garda force was being dismantled by cutbacks and frontline gardaí felt fear and trepidation as a result, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) has said.
The group, which represents rank-and-file members in the 13,500-strong force, said the murder of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe represented a “body blow” to a force already under strain. GRA general secretary PJ Stone said that while he had listened to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan make reassuring statements about resourcing since last Friday’s events, he believed his members were not reassured.
“There is a great sense of isolation – and I won’t say fear – but there is trepidation. What happens if this happens again next week? When does the rhetoric stop?”
He added the murder of a garda in such a cold-blooded fashion had hit the force hard especially because 60 per cent of serving members had fewer than 10 years’ service and were too young to have experienced anything similar in the past.
“So from that point of view it is a seminal moment for them that creates a lot of fear, a lot of confusion and a lot of trepidation. A member has been killed in cold blood and 60 per cent of the force has never experienced that. They haven’t walked behind the coffins of their colleagues.”
“I am extremely concerned today that the young men and women out there . . . are not getting the support that is required to continue to provide a first-class policing service. We see the force being dismantled, the Minister and commissioner reassuring the public that there is adequate resources.
“When are they going to reassure the members of An Garda Síochána expected to stand up – the thin blue line – and continue to provide the type of heroic cover that has been given in this instance?
“It is so shocking that people have now again to realise that members of An Garda Síochána, on a daily basis, take their lives into their hands . . .
“When you see the figures for the cutbacks – and I don’t want to get into that today, this is not the time or the place, I am more concerned with the long-term implications of what has happened, the issues that have arisen as a result of this horrible tragedy, and it has to be dealt with in the context of a new approach.”