Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is determined to speed up legislation on body-worn cameras for members of An Garda Síochána.
Setting out his priorities for his second term as Taoiseach, Mr. Varadkar said the technology will assist the guards in bringing forward prosecutions as well as offering additional protection.
There have been a number of high profile incidents in recent months in Dublin where a Garda car was rammed repeatedly as well as a vicious assault on a Garda outside a pub.
“I’ve been appalled to see the level of aggression and violence against members of the gardaí in recent times,” Varadkar said.
“I don’t know whether it’s got worse or not, but it’s bad and we want to do everything we can to support them.”
The Taoiseach said that he is committed to recruit more gardaí in the year ahead. He said the issue was raised during a meeting with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris – which had been one of his first engagements since taking over from Micheál Martin as Taoiseach.
“We did discuss garda recruitment and what he said was quite reassuring in many ways that recruitment did slow down a lot during the pandemic for obvious reasons and he’s confident that that can speed up in 2013,” said Mr. Varadkar.
“We have a budget I think for about 1,000 recruits in 2023 and that doesn’t mean 1,000 extra gardaí, of course, because you have to take account for retirements, but it will mean more gardaí.
“And there is a budget for increased garda staff as well so I’m very keen to assist the Minister for Justice and the Commissioner in making sure that we meet those written targets for the next year.
“That means more gardaí available to keep our communities safe and strong and also the provision of garda staff frees up uniformed gardaí as well.”
The Taoiseach said that a new garda station will also open on O’Connell Street in Dublin in the spring and “that will mean a greater more permanent presence in that part of the city which I think will be very welcome."
“We’ll also have the new legislation on the police and community safety which I think will be very welcome,” he added.