STATEMENT: Costello calls for de-escalation following the deployment of armed Gardaí, saying “we need Gardaí on the street, but not armed Gardaí”

Patrick Costello TD, Green Party Justice Spokesperson, was today speaking following the announcement of the deployment of armed gardaí units in Dublin City.

He began, “We have all been shocked by the upsurge in crime witnessed on the streets of Dublin. These recent attacks are completely unacceptable and require an immediate and appropriate response.

Today An Garda Síochána have announced a response that is not appropriate – a policing plan which will see the deployment of armed gardaí, riot police and dog units in our city. This is a wholly disproportionate and draconian response. The Commissioner should reconsider this policing plan and put a more appropriate plan in place.”

He continued, “The situation we find ourselves in requires a simple response, more Gardaí on the beat. When a police force is visible it has a two-fold effect, it deters crime and makes citizens feel safe. This is what the Gardaí should be focusing on now, getting regular Gardaí out of offices filing reports and on the streets of our city. The use of armed Gardaí is simply excessive. That the Commissioner has jumped to using armed Gardaí begs the question is there enough regular frontline Gardaí to do the job, or is this the Commissioner over-compensating for previous inaction.

Concluding he remarked, “People might question if regular Gardaí have the tools to deal with this issue. In my mind their visibility, and existing equipment are more than enough to tackle this issue. By and large the recent spate of crimes have been committed by people in their teens – they are not armed with guns. Public safety is an extremely important issue, but it deserves an appropriate response, today’s policing plan is not that.

Improved policing will help in the short term, but if we really want to tackle crime, we have to tackle to causes of crime too. Investment in youth work, education and equality are proven to help tackle crime in the long run, alongside better policing.”