Fitzgerald says Fine Gael will recruit at least 600 gardaí a year

Minister for Justice says she will also introduce tougher sentences for repeat offenders if re-elected

Fine Gael will commit to recruiting at least 600 new gardaí a year if re-elected to Government, the Minister for Justice has said.

Fine Gael will commit to recruiting at least 600 new gardaí a year if re-elected to Government, the Minister for Justice has said.

 

Fine Gael will commit to recruiting at least 600 new gardaí a year if re-elected to Government, the Minister for Justice has said.

Frances Fitzgerald told her party’s ardfheis the party was committed to hiring more gardaí.

She said: “Since September 2014, we have provided for the recruitment of 1,150 new gardaí, including 600 next year - that’s 100 more that Fianna Fáil wanted in their 2016 pre-budget submission.

“Fine Gael will continue recruiting at a rate of at least 600 a year until we get the strength of the force back up to 14,000 and beyond.

“Recruitment is just the beginning. Gardaí must be mobile and visible and

responsive - in the community - not stuck behind desks in stations.

“We need gardaí policing our road network and tackling mobile criminal gangs.”

The Minister forJustice said she will introduce tougher sentences for repeat offenders.

She said serious and serial offenders must be behind bars and not free to commit crime.

The Minister also vowed to introduce new legislation refusing bail “to protect the public against crimes committed by offenders”.

She said: “This bill will allow for refusal of bail for repeat serious offenders and will strengthen Garda powers to deal with breaches of bail.

“It will also include new provisions to allow for electronic tagging of those on bail, where requested by gardaí, to reduce re-offending.”

The Minister also used the speech to criticise Sinn Féin’s proposals to abolish the Special Criminal Court.

Ms Fitzgerald said she absolutely opposes the party’s position.

She said: “This Court is vital to ensuring the effective management of fair trials of alleged terrorists and dissidents.”