Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the government is doing 'everything it can' to support Gardaí and improve law and order across the country.
Under Mr Varadkar, the government plans to increase Garda recruitment, roll out body cams to protect Gardaí and finally reopen O'Connell Street's Garda Station - all measures, he says, will reduce crime.
The newly appointed Taoiseach was keen to show that, despite Minister Simon Harris juggling both the Higher Education and the Justice portfolios, law and order will not be put on the back burner.
Upon becoming Taoiseach again, Mr Varadkar met with the Garda Commissioner as he was "very keen to assure him of government support" for the Gardaí.
"We did discuss Garda recruitment and what he said was quite assuring in some ways that recruitment did slow down a lot during the pandemic... and he's confident that that can speed up", the Taoiseach said.
He also said that there is room in the budget to recruit an additional 1,000 recruits in 2023.
"That doesn't mean 1,000 extra Gardaí of course. We have to take account of retirements. But there will be more Gardaí."
O'Connell Street Garda Station
The new Garda station on O'Connell St is due to open in March or April, he said, which will be a "more permanent [Garda] presence in that part of the city".
Justice Minister Helen McEntee previously said that the new station would tackle anti-social behaviour and drug-dealing in the city centre.
But according to some people, such as Independent Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn, it's nothing but a "PR exercise".
The move comes four years after the old O’Connell St Garda Station was shut down and has been welcomed by other local representatives and Dublin Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland.
Cllr Mannix Flynn said the old station "really wasn't that effective anyway".
“The old Garda Station on O’Connell Street, while it was very welcome, really wasn’t that effective anyway,” he said. “What we need is not Garda station, what we need is actually Gardaí on the street.
“At the end of the day, what people want to see is Gardaí on the streets – patrolling the streets.”
Two specific Garda operations targeting public order, assaults, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour will be run from the new station.
The Taoiseach said he is keen to get legislation to arm Gardaí with body cameras passed in the new year.
According to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), there is not enough evidence to show that bodycams can protect Gardaí or the public.
ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said the government was due to publish the findings of a consultation process into the technology before bringing forward the legislation.
Mr Varadkar believes that bodycams will "help prosecute people who have committed crimes" and "enhance the safety of Gardaí".
"I've been appalled to see the level of aggression and violence against members of Gardaí in recent times", he said.
Main image shows Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking at Dublin Castle. Picture by: Sam Boal/RollingNews