The leader of the Seanad has said she has altered her route home when staying in Dublin for work because she no longer feels safe in the city.
Senator Lisa Chambers was speaking as it emerged that almost one-quarter of Garda stations have seen a fall in the number of officers on duty over the last year.
She told The Pat Kenny Show there has been a marked difference on the streets recently.
"I live in Castlebar in Mayo - a rural town - and then I'm in Dublin during the week obviously for my work in the Seanad," she said.
"I can tell you there is anti-social behaviour problems in all parts of our country, it's not just in our cities.
"All rural towns are having the same issue in terms of a lack of Garda presence on the street."
'Definitely a change'
Senator Chambers said things have changed since the pandemic.
"Certainly, in Dublin city centre - I'm there midweek for a couple of nights a week for work - I've noticed a change," she said.
"I've altered my route back to where I'd stay and would be far more conscious, particularly since the pandemic.
"Now that we've come out of lockdown, more than a year ago now, there's been a marked change in the feeling of safety in the city centre in parts where you wouldn't ordinarily have considered it.
"So, there has definitely been a change.
"There's very few Gardaí visible on the streets; so, the public will tell you themselves they don't see the Garda presence that they want."
'A big problem'
Senator Chambers said Gardaí are doing the best they can, but it is not too late to do more.
"We know that assaults on Gardaí are up 10% in the last year; we know that about 300 Gardaí are out from work injured every year because of assaults, and there's 1,000 members of the force assaulted annually," she said.
"That's a big problem.
"There should be alarm bells ringing right now, because what is happening in the Gardaí is what has happened already in the Defence Forces.
"We have an ongoing recruitment and retention crisis in the Defence Forces. It's been there for many, many years; we've become accustomed to it.
"We need to listen very carefully now to what the members of the Gardaí are saying to us, because this can be turned around," she added.