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Written Answers - Garda Strength

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 366.  Deputy Derek Keating Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  the current status of Garda management in relation to promotions, resignations and retirements; if he is satisfied that there are enough inspectors, superintendents, chief inspectors and assistant commissioners to assist the commissioner in maintaining the service of law and order that is needed in this country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6512/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The strength of the Garda Síochána at the end of 2011 was just under 13,900, along with over 2,000 civilian support staff and over 800 Garda Reserve members. I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the total number of Garda retirements from the Force in the first two months of this year is expected to be around 300. To put that figure into context, in 2009 the number of retirements was 722, in 2010 it was 362, and last year it was 436.

As the Deputy will be aware, these reductions form part 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. Of course, what will ultimately determine the sustainable level of Garda numbers is the level of budgetary provision that can be made for the Force, and the House will be conscious that difficult decisions will continue to have to be made, right across the public sector, in order to bring our public finances back into balance. Of course, even with a reduction in overall Garda numbers, there will still be a need to ensure that key positions are filled, especially in the senior ranks. As the Deputy may be aware, I today 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. With clarity now emerging on the final number of retirements expected by the end of this month, I will be discussing with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the case for filling outstanding vacancies in the senior ranks.


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