346. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the strength of An Garda Síochána in each of the past ten years to 2015 to date; the extent to which she will be in a position to augment the numbers in line with the improved economic situation in the coming years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42913/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, including new probationer Gardaí, among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of resources.
I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the strength of An Garda Síochána for 31 December 2005 to 31 December 2014 and 31 October 2015, the latest date for which figures are readily available are as set out in the table.
This Government is committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána has the capacity to provide effective, visible policing throughout the country. A crucial element of the Government's strategy is ongoing seamless recruitment to renew An Garda Síochána. With this in mind Budget 2016 made provision for the recruitment of 600 new Gardaí next year bringing to 1,150 the number of new Gardaí that will be recruited since the reopening of the Garda College in Templemore in September 2014. So far 295 of those new recruits are fully attested and are on the ground in communities nationwide.
I was very pleased to announce the commencement of the recruitment campaign for 2016 last Friday, 27 November. It is being organised by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Garda Commissioner. Applications must be made through The closing date for applications is Tuesday 5 January 2016. Successful candidates can expect to enter the Garda College from June 2016 onwards.
Strength of An Garda Síochána

Year Strength Reserve
31/12/2005 12,264 N/A
31/12/2006 12,954 30
31/12/2007 13,755 205
31/12/2008 14,412 319
31/12/2009 14,547 478
31/12/2010 14,377 700
31/12/2011 13,894 877
31/12/2012 13,424 991
31/12/2013 13,093 1,164
31/12/2014 12,799 1,124
31/10/2015 12,866 988