FF Senator says gardaí defending communities being spat at and bitten

Denis O’Donovan calls for Seanad debate on ‘lack of societal respect’ for law and order

Senator Denis O’Donovan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Senator Denis O’Donovan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Fianna Fáil Senator Denis O’Donovan called on the Seanad to address the “lack of societal respect” for law, order and authority in the State.

He said the issue related to rank-and-file gardaí more than anybody else.

“I support An Garda Síochána, 99 per cent of whom are great people. It is a pity that gardaí, trying to defend our communities and people, are being spat at, bitten, kicked, knocked, abused and assaulted,” said Mr O’Donovan.

He said that rather than having “an anti-Minister and anti-Government debate”, the Seanad should discuss the future of the Garda.

Mr O’Donovan warned that if “the rot” was not addressed in the near future, the result would be a further erosion of confidence in the force.

“Morale among frontline members of An Garda Síochána is very low,” he said. “However, I do not blame the Government for this: we all have a role to play.”

Fianna Fáil Senator Diarmuid Wilson said Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald should be invited to the Seanad to debate resources available to gardaí and reforms introduced.

Morale

at all-time low Mr Wilson said the most important issue to be discussed was that “morale is at an all-time low within An Garda Sí

ochána and that gardaí are being subjected, not only to physical violence and intimidation, but also to daily intimidation on social media”. That was not acceptable, he added.

Seanad leader Maurice Cummins (FG) said he agreed everything possible should be done to address the concerns of gardaí. “The violence and intimidation [directed towards gardaí], which Senator Wilson mentioned regarding social media, in particular, is despicable,” he added.