Garda chief says footage of gardaí being attacked deters people joining the force
A garda was injured when he was struck by a missile after intervening in a dangerous driving incident in Dublin on Tuesday.
Increasing violence against gardaí is “very concerning and unacceptable” a top garda has said, after an officer was injured in Dublin.
The garda was injured when he was struck by a missile after intervening in a dangerous driving and public order incident in Ballyfermot.
Two garda vehicles were also significantly damaged.
The General Secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has said issues around recruitment and retention of staff must be addressed.
Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Antoinette Cunningham called for a greater political response to the problem.
"The Government clearly has not achieved its targets," she said.
"They didn't achieve their targets last year – they promised a recruitment of 800 gardaí last year, they achieved just over 120."
Ms Cunningham said the recruitment and retention problems have the potential to be political failure.
She said images of gardaí being attacked by members of the public turn people off applying to become gardaí.
There are other issues that make the job unattractive, she added, including poor pensions.
She said the Public Order Act needs to be reviewed to see if the job of An Garda Síochána can be made safer.
"That's why what we saw yesterday needs to be addressed as a societal issue across all of the political, judicial, garda social partnerships," Ms Cunningham said.
"It is a multi-agency approach, but certainly recruitment and retention issues in An Garda Síochána also need to be addressed."
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin have both condemned the recent violence against gardaí.
Speaking at a Government press conference today, Mr Varadkar said he was "very worried" about a normalisation of violence and called for a "national conversation" about what is driving rising violence in Ireland.
He said there has been "an increase in general violence", not just against gardaí, but on children, migrants, and the LGBTQ community.
He is "very worried about" this "normalisation of violence against people".
Earlier, the President of the Garda Representative Association said there is an urgent need for a taskforce to be established to tackle the growing problem of violence against gardaí.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Brendan O'Connor said he will be asking the Minister for Justice Simon Harris to increase garda numbers when he meets with him.
He said that despite a commitment to budgets, recruitment "hasn't materialised".
He said there are fears that policing is no longer seen as an attractive career and more must be done to change this perspective.
"Making it a more attractive job in terms of conditions of service, making it a safer job, protect the people who are out there," he said.
Mr O'Connor said there are growing concerns over the sharing of anti-social behaviour videos on social media because these videos could encourage copycat attacks and undermine public confidence in the gardaí.
A robust response is needed from authorities, he said.
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