Fine Gael TDs Helen McEntee and Neil Richmond have each called for the already over-burdened Garda service to do more in different areas.
The goal set out for new students entering the Garda College in 2022 by the coalition government of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party was 800. Official figures, however, show that only 90 students entered the Garda College this year.
Minister McEntee often cites that her proposed Hate Speech Bill is necessary due to the fact that its predecessor, The Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989, only secured 50 prosecutions in the more than 30 years since it was enacted. There is no doubt that her new bill casts a very wide net, with many in the Dáil criticising it last week on that very basis. It is not the increased number of prosecutions however that will be the greatest strain to Gardaí in this bill: Gardaí will now have to monitor both the streets for crimes, and the Internet for hate crimes.
While McEntee seeks to redirect limited Garda resources online, another Fine Gael TD, Neil Richmond, called for those same resources to be directed onto the streets:
It is unclear as to how Fine Gael plan on having the increasingly over-burdened service do more offline as well as online going into the future.