Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has demanded that anyone convicted of physically assaulting a garda, heath worker or anyone working in emergency services, should be given a custodial sentence of at least six months,

In the last ten years, 2,411 gardaí have been assaulted while on active duty.

The Aontú leader tabled a new bill to the Dáil on Wednesday which if enacted would provide for a minimum custodial sentence for anyone convicted of such offences.

He told the Dáil “That figure of 2,411 Gardaí came in an answer to a parliamentary question that we in Aontú received just in the last few weeks,, it is absolutely not acceptable that hundreds of officers going about their service to the community would be assaulted.

“The government have hung the gardaí out to dry through years of under-resourcing and understaffing. According to a Eurostat report in 2016 Ireland had one of the smallest per capita police forces in the EU at 278 gardaí for every 100,000 people. This was 40 police officers per 100,000 people less than the EU average. This leaves gardaí vulnerable.

“The most recent figure that I have received from the Department of Justice shows that there are now only 280 gardaí per 100,000 in the state. It’s hardly improved since the dark days of austerity. We have also found out that only 150 Garda trainees were recruited last year yet hundreds of Gardaí are retiring each year.”