Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey says that The Budget announcement of 800 additional Gardaí for next year will have a significant effect on the fight against crime in rural areas of the county.

“Ongoing recruitment will bring the strength of the force up to 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Garda Reserve members and 4,000 civilian staff by 2021,” Deputy Carey explained.

“The recruitment of civilian staff addresses capacity shortfalls and frees up a large number of desk bound trained police officers for frontline duties in the towns and villages of Clare.

“Fine Gael reopened the Garda training college in Templemore after Fianna Fáil closed it down. We remain committed to increasing Garda numbers and the ongoing reform and modernisation of the police force.

“In order to fulfil these commitments, Budget 2017 allocates an additional €28 million for An Garda Síochána, as part of a total package of measures of €68 million. This brings total funding for the Justice and Equality area to €2.54 billion.

“€71.5 million has also been provided for Garda overtime to allow for sustained pressure to tackle gangland crime, fund the continuation of the Gardaí’s national anti-burglary initiative Operation Thor, and also to ensure that measures to prevent international terrorism are unrelenting throughout 2017. €6 million has also been allocated for a new Forensic Science Laboratory which will increase efficiency and improve the analysis of samples submitted from crime scenes for criminal trials.

“Budget 2017 is another stepping stone in Fine Gael’s plan to use a strong economy to help make people’s lives better.  Thanks to the careful economic management of recent years we now have the resources to target investments in key public services that will make a real difference to people’s lives. Investment in An Garda Síochána is a crucial part of this, helping to reduce crime and protect families and homes here in Clare,” Deputy Carey concluded.