Growth areas in Dublin losing out on garda numbers
Some of the areas with the highest population growth in the country have proportionally the least gardai.
An analysis of garda manpower across the country's 28 divisions highlights wide variations in the strength of the force relative to the size of communities they serve.
It reveals that some divisions in the north-west of the country have almost twice as many gardai per head of population as parts of the greater Dublin area which are experiencing strong growth levels.
The figures show the garda divisions of Roscommon/Longford and Sligo/Leitrim have proportionally the most gardai in the Republic outside Dublin's inner city areas.
The national average is 26.3 gardai per 10,000 inhabitants.
In contrast, Meath has the lowest ratio of gardai to population at just under 17 gardai per 10,000. Kildare has the second lowest, at approximately 18.
The scale of the imbalance is highlighted by the fact that while the number of gardai serving in Meath (324) and Roscommon/Longford (314) is similar, Meath has over 94,000 more inhabitants.
Kildare, which has a population of over 20,000 more than Limerick, has 394 gardai compared to 581 in Limerick.
Garda figures show the two divisions in Dublin city centre have proportionally the highest staffing levels in the country.
In Dublin North Central, which has the highest overall crime rates in the Republic, there are over 83 gardai per 10,000 population - over three times the national average.
Dublin South Central, which has the highest rates for robberies and burglaries in Ireland, has an average of almost 66 gardai per 10,000.
Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said: "Essentially the figures indicate that large new population centres don't get a large range of new services. They are playing catch-up the whole time."
A garda spokesperson said the number of gardai assigned to a division was not determined by population alone and comparing garda divisions on a per capita basis was "overly simplistic and fails to take into account crucial factors such as crime trends and demographics".