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Written Answers - Garda Strength

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 356.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding Garda numbers. [6252/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the personnel strength of the Kerry Division on the 31 December 2011, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 314 which compares with 334 on the 31 December 2010 or a reduction of approximately 6%. As the Deputy will be aware, the allocation of resources, including personnel, vehicles and other equipment, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner in consultation with his senior management team. Reductions in Garda strength must be seen in the context of a wider programme aimed at reducing the size of the public service, and will contribute to reducing expenditure and complying with the terms of the EU-IMF agreement.

Today I have secured Cabinet approval for the appointment of 2 Assistant Garda Commissioners, 8 Chief Superintendents and 23 Superintendents, a total of 33 appointments to senior Garda ranks. All of the consequential vacancies at Sergeant and Inspector ranks will also be filled. I was very glad to secure the agreement of my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Cabinet as a whole for such a significant number of appointments. In seeking these promotions, I was conscious of the need to enable the Garda Commissioner to fill key positions in the senior ranks, and to maintain both the investigative and also the management and supervisory capacity of the Force.

Local Garda Management closely monitors the allocation of all resources in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level, to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources, and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. Senior- Garda Management is satisfied that a comprehensive policing service continues to be delivered and that current structures in place meet the requirement to deliver an effective and efficient policing service to the community. This situation will be kept under review.

While a policing service may not always be provided in the same way as it was in the past, it is no less effective and the commitment of An Garda Síochána to the community is not diminished. The importance of the partnership between An Garda Síochána and the community in preventing and detecting crime and maintaining a safe environment for everyone can never be over-emphasised and the pledge of An Garda Síochána is to continue to invest time and energy in those partnerships and relationships to the benefit of all.

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