'There are no extra resources' - Gardaí 'scratching their heads' at Taoiseach's asylum pledge

"There are no extra or additional Gardaí - we're just asking more of the same pool of people.”
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

14.10 18 Jan 2024

Share this article

'There are no extra resources'...

'There are no extra resources' - Gardaí 'scratching their heads' at Taoiseach's asylum pledge

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

14.10 18 Jan 2024

Share this article

Gardaí and teachers are warning that there are simply not enough resources available to move to areas most ‘under pressure’ from the arrival of asylum seekers.

It comes after the Taoiseach said he was asking all his ministers to put together a special package of resources for the 10 districts in the country that have taken in the highest proportion of refugees and asylum seekers.

Leo Varadkar said the package would go beyond the €50 million Community Recognition Fund that is already available to communities hosting large amounts of migrant accommodation.


He made the pledge as he condemned the scenes at the Roscrea anti-asylum seeker protest – where Gardaí had to form a cordon through protesters to allow 17 women and children access to the Racket Hall Hotel, which has been repurposed as asylum seeker accommodation.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks to the media during the official opening of the final section of the N22 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the official opening of the final section of the N22, 06-11-2023. Image: PA Images / Alamy

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, the GRA President Brendan O’Connor said Gardaí are “scratching their heads” at the idea that there any extra Garda resources available to move anywhere.

“The use of the word extra and additional is always very interesting for us,” he said.

“There aren't enough Gardaí to do the job that needs to be done – we’re 1,000 members short.

"What we're saying is, as usual, they’re asking more of the same finite pool of people. So it is an acknowledgement that resources are insufficient, but where the solution lies, we don't know.”

A Garda van passes protesters at the Racket Hall hotel in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, 15-01-2024. Image: PA Images / Alamy

He said the force is facing a “significant depletion” of members, particularly in rural areas.

“We're struggling with units covering massive areas,” he said.

“Many small stations are very much understaffed as resources are sucked into what were called district headquarters and a lot of them are now earmarked for downgrading.

“So really, we don't know where these additional or extra Gardaí would come from.”

Reactive policing

He said many Gardaí would be quite happy to move to rural areas – but that would simply leave urban areas short.

“It's just this kind of crisis management or reactive policing,” he said.

“We saw the focus was on Dublin city in recent months and we had Guards being pulled out of outlying areas into Dublin to supplement there and now we're saying the new problem is maybe in country areas.

“So it's just, you know, moving insufficient numbers around trying to plug holes and gaps when overall the problem isn't actually been solved."

Garda Reserve

Asked whether the Garda Reserve could be called in to help he said the nature of the incidents surrounding immigration around the country is "spraying seriously beyond public order into serious criminal damage and arson".

“I don’t know where the role for a part-time, untrained person will be for that," he said adding that the Garda Reserve is even more depleted than the regular force.

“There's very little uptick, very little interest in it and people are leaving that in their droves," he said. "So again, if the people are available, there may be a role for them but we don't see it and certainly, the facts don't stack up.”


Also on the show, primary school principal and podcast host Simon Lewis said you could replace the word 'Garda' with 'teacher' for almost everything Mr O’Connor was saying.

“There aren't enough teachers in the system and you know, I have to say, this isn't our new migrants fault at all,” he said.

“I absolutely hate to see and absolutely condemn how people are reacting by protesting outside their accommodations. It's not their fault that this the problem but we have to do something about it.

"The trouble is we don't have enough teachers and there aren't enough teachers coming to the system. This year, we weren't able to fill all the places in teacher training colleges for the first time in my living memory.

“It just feels like, similar to Brendan, people may readily move to a different area, let's say to a rural area, if the opportunity came up, but then they're leaving a gap somewhere else.

“So effectively we're kind of moving deck chairs around the Titanic, I would suggest.”

Share this article

Read more about

Asylum Seekers Garda Leo Varadkar

Most Popular