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Budget balancing may see reduction in gardaí on the frontline, south Donegal TD warns

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Budget balancing may see reduction in gardaí on the frontline south Donegal TD warns

Weekend reports that a reduction in frontline garda operations are being sought by the Garda Commissioner in order to reduce costs and ensure gardaí stay within budget have been described as "very concerning" by a south Donegal TD.

Martin Kenny TD said: "In the Commissioner's latest report to the Policing Authority, he has said there was an over spend in Garda pay, due to overtime and that the service was over budget by €4.5 million by the end of July.

"In order for the Garda spend to come in on budget, the Commissioner is looking for cuts to operational policing.  This is at a time when property related crime such as theft is increasing."

Kenny, who is the Sinn Féin spokesperson for Justice and Equality added: "Crimes such as assault are up 7% and sexual assaults are at record levels.  In this context, deciding to reduce operational policing is very concerning for public safety.

Deputy Kenny claims that one of the reasons the Garda budget is so stretched is that the cost of policing president Trump's visit earlier this year, which was taken out of this year’s Garda budget rather than coming from a special allocation:   "Public safety is now being put in jeopardy partly because of the security operation around Donald Trump and this is unacceptable."

Kenny called on the Minister and the Government to ensure the Gardaí are properly resourced to prevent crime and serve the public.  

He said: "The bigger picture has to be taken into account as reducing policing in the community always comes at a great cost to society in the longer term."