Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath, Peter Burke, says the extra funding announced this week for health services and the Gardaí is very good news for communities across Longford and Westmeath.

“I am very pleased to see that Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, has announced that she has secured Government approval for substantial additional funding to be provided to An Garda Síochána.

“The additional funds of €55 million will be made available for the remainder of this year (this figure includes €5 million previously announced in February). This funding is made up of €40 million additional Exchequer funding, plus €15 million to be funded from projected savings based on analysis of expenditure trends elsewhere in the Justice and Equality sector.

“I know from talking to my constituents that crime is a major issue of concern of many people in Longford and Westmeath. This Government is making progress is the battle against crime. The CSO figures for 2015 show a decrease in most categories of crime and the Text Alert scheme and Operation THOR have both been a success. However more needs to be done. This extra funding is very welcome and means the Gardaí have more resources to tackle crime.

“Fine Gael is committed to bringing Garda numbers to 15,000, as well as providing an additional €46 million to the Garda fleet and €205 million for technology, all of which is vital. I will continue to work for my constituents to ensure Gardaí have all the resources they need in the fight against crime here in Longford and Westmeath, and across the country.”

“The Government has also approved a Revised Estimate for the Department of Health of €500 million. This will allow the Programme for Government commitments on health to be met, while also addressing financial pressures in the health service.

“The top priority now should be to use these funds to address some of the immediate problems facing patients, in particular to help address overcrowding in Emergency Departments.

“Fine Gael is committed to continuing to provide better services for all the people of Longford and Westmeath, to make their lives better and build a fairer Ireland.”