1. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if the civilian component of An Garda Síochána is to be enhanced; and if there are any targets in place in that regard. [7630/17]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Government has agreed an overall vision for the Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 to include 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Garda Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. This very substantial investment in personnel is driven by our commitment to ensure all citizens have the reassurance of a visible, responsive and effective policing service.
At present, there are approximately 2,000 civilians in the organisation carrying out senior management, administrative and technical roles. The projected number of 4,000 civilians will effectively double the figure and represents a medium-term target of 20% civilians over the next five years. That will bring An Garda Síochána, currently with 14% civilians, more into line with international norms and ensure that trained police men and women, are available for and utilised in operational areas.
To support the implementation of this vision, budget 2017 has provided funding for 800 Garda trainees, 300 Garda Reserve trainees and up to 500 civilians. The recruitment and appointment of the additional civilians will help to address capacity and critical skills gaps across the organisation and at the various levels. I will not go into the details of that now.
We will reach the 20% target by the identification of gardaí filling roles that could be done by suitably qualified civilians. The Garda Inspectorate has indicated there may be in the region of 1,500 in that situation, although the number is disputed, and, second, by the application of a civilian-by-default policy under which all new posts, other than operational policing posts, and non-operational policing posts that become vacant, will be filled by civilian staff with the appropriate skills and expertise. We are committed to moving ahead on the recruitment of 500 civilian staff this year.