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24th Sep 2021

999 calls to Gardaí continue to be cancelled, says Garda Commissioner

Sarah McKenna Barry

Fresh reports of cancelled 999 calls have been described as “extraordinarily risky” and “utterly dismissive” by the Police Authority chairman.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said that 53 emergency calls to the Gardaí phone lines have been cancelled since the initial emergence of reports of cancelled 999 calls just months ago.

Mr Harris said that an “inquiry and disciplinary” investigation into the matter is underway.

Bob Collins, the Police Authority chairman said that it was “completely incredible” and “an extraordinarily risky and grave matter” for 999 calls to go unanswered or cancellled.

Mr Collins added that the matter was “utterly dismissive” of those who call 999.

Earlier this year, it emerged that between 2019 and 2000, Gardaí cancelled over 200,000 calls. 3000 of them were related to domestic violence.

A statement from Women’s Aid described the reports of these failures by the Gardaí as being of “deep concern”.

It read: “The Gardaí are a key frontline responder to combating and preventing the scourge of Domestic Abuse in Ireland, and public trust in their response is absolutely vital.”

The organisation’s CEO Sarah Benson said: “What is of critical importance is that there is a swift, sensitive and systematic outreach to those whose calls went unanswered; to assess their safety and support needs. A complete root and branch revision of internal systems and practices must also be completed to ensure that such a grievous breach of procedure can never happen again.”

Just last week, the Minister of State for Justice, Hildegarde Naughton released figures which indicated that nearly 100 domestic abuse incidents are reported to Gardaí every day this year, while roughly one report of domestic abuse is made every 15 minutes.

If you have been affected by any of the details of this article, you can contact Women’s Aid’s 24 hour helpline on 1800 341 900 and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 77 8888.