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LAWLESS IRELAND; GARDA REPRESENTATIVE ASSOCIATION Justice Minister is slammed by officers Shatter has been 'soft' on criminals.

Byline: CATHAL McMAHON

RANK and file gardai last night accused the Justice Minister of allowing Ireland to become a "lawless badland".

In a blistering attack on Alan Shatter's record, the Garda Representative Association said he had failed to make any significant impact in more than a year in office.

Attacking the minister faceto-face at the conference in Athlone, Co Westmeath, outgoing GRA president Damien McCarthy said: "Your Government has failed to establish itself as the Government of law and order.

"So far you have been soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime and soft on the proceeds of crime."

"I conclude that your appointment has so far failed to have any significant impact on policing - you have achieved no more than your predecessors."

Referring to the recent escape of garda killer Martin McDermott from Loughan House open prison, Mr McCarthy added: "We continue to see a revolving door in the justice system operating in this country.

"Our members investigate crime, arrest and prosecute criminals - only to see them return to our streets before their full sentence is served.

"In many cases we see lenient sentences reduced because of prison overcrowding, even when the lives of gardai have been cut short.

"Our members are rightly angered and feel betrayed by your shortcomings."

Turning again to Mr Shatter personally, he recalled his remarks while in opposition, warning about "lawless badlands" because of a lack of new Garda recruits.

Mr McCarthy said: "Yet now you are prepared to abandon areas of the country to become lawless badlands by closing down Garda stations."

Speaking afterwards Mr Shatter shrugged off the stinging attack.

He added: "At conferences like this people sometimes use exaggerated language. "I think everyone knows that we are not soft on crime.

"There have been great successes in the Garda force over the last 12 months and I think it is regrettable that those in the leadership of the GRA should devalue the success that has been achieved.

"On this conference the leadership of the GRA had some point they wanted to make."

Irish Mirror Comment: Page 10

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CLAIMS JDamien McCarthy ATTACKED JAlan Shatter at conference in Co Westmeath yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 18, 2012
Words:362
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