Sinn Fein TD for Dublin Southwest Seán Crowe has said he is appalled at the idea that desperate and anxious callers to the Emergency 999 call number were ignored and cancelled by members of An Garda Síochána.

A recent report from the Police Authority examining more than 3,000 cancelled 999 calls to gardaí about domestic violence, missing persons or health issues found that over 600 such calls to gardaí in 2019 or 2020 were cancelled before a proper policing response.

Teachta Crowe said:

“I am appalled at the idea that the calls of someone desperately in need of Garda assistance were disregarded, ignored or their call was cancelled by members of the force. It is entirely unacceptable. Clearly, the Garda Commissioner needs to explain what happened, what went wrong, and give assurances to the public that this will never happen again.

“We now know that up to 600 calls ignored were domestic violence related.

“The thought that someone caught up in a situation like that making the brave step in actually making that 999 call and then finding they were ignored is horrendous

“If we take it that there were thousands of calls cancelled by Gardaí, including domestic incidents, there must be many more relating to common assault, burglary, trespass, and other such offences. The extent of this must be appropriately investigated.

“The Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has now apologised for the failure of the Gardaí to provide an appropriate policing response in relation to more than 600 domestic violence related calls in his appearance before the Policing Authority. He has also accepted that the scale of this may require an external examination and that should be considered by the Minister for Justice without delay.

“I also welcome the call on the Garda Commissioner to come before the Oireachtas Justice Committee to give a full and frank account of the behaviour of the Garda personnel he oversees.

“The idea that Gardaí were not following up on these calls flies in the face of all that policing and safeguarding of citizens is meant to be.

“It is a frightening scenario when people cannot rely on the Gardaí to respond in an emergency, not to mention the skewing of crime statistics that would result from the cancellation of genuine calls for help.”