Minister to tell Gardaí base that she will step up their mental health support

THE MINISTER OF Justice will tell the Gardaí base today that it is committed to supporting the expansion of their mental health supports.

Minister Helen McEntee will address the Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference later. She will tell delegates that she will work with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to determine how to fund the expansion of services in the years to come.

This will include additional training in mental health, self-care and support, as well as additional contact sessions for mental health support for day care.

The minister will tell the conference that the plans will also include the expansion of compulsory psychological support within An Garda Síochána.

McEntee, in his speech, will tell delegates that their role is “absolutely crucial in protecting our communities.” She will recognize that they face traumatic incidents in the course of their duties and that it is vital that the necessary supports are available to them.

She will also emphasize to GRA members the importance of de-stigmatizing mental health issues and will encourage all garda staff to seek help when they need it.

The theme for this year’s GRA conference, which was limited to a smaller number of attendees due to Covid-19 cases, is “Communities matter… so do we”.

Yesterday, the president of the GRA, Frank Thornton, called on the minister to work with the association to reduce a 50% increase in attacks on gardaí.

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“One of the many challenges we have faced over the past year has been the sharp increase in assaults on our members,” he said.

“Assaults on the gardaí during the five-year period up to 2020 have increased by more than 50%, with almost half being the direct result of such injuries sustained by the gardaí on duty. “

Thornton said he would explain to the minister and her ministry how they can “work with us to change perceptions and provide tangible deterrents to deal with this continuing affront to our members.”

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