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Question

71. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the numbers of new gardaí since the resumption of recruitment, by county; and her views on the current status of the community Garda role which has been a successful element of An Garda Síochána. [42386/15]

Answer

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.
This Government is committed to the ongoing recruitment of trainee Gardaí, and to this end the first intake since 2009 of new recruits commenced training at the Garda College, Templemore, in September of last year. To date there have been six intakes of Garda Trainees to the Garda College, giving a total intake of 550. So far 295 of the new Garda Trainees have attested as members of An Garda Síochána. On attestation, new probationer Gardaí are assigned to stations throughout the country by the Garda Commissioner, where they are assigned to mainstream uniform policing duties. I am assured by Garda management that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of new probationer Gardaí. The table sets out the Division breakdown of the distribution of the 295 probationer Gardaí.
The Deputy will be aware that I announced the opening of a recruitment campaign for new members of An Garda Síochána last Friday 27 November. This new campaign is necessary to fulfil the Government’s commitment to recruit 600 Gardaí in 2016. The 600 new Gardaí to be recruited next year will bring to 1,150 the total number of new recruits since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. This ramped-up recruitment underscores the determination of this Government to deliver an effective, responsive police service to protect our communities and respond to emerging crime trends.
The Public Appointments Service (PAS) is organising the recruitment competition on behalf of the Garda Commissioner and applications may be made through the PAS website at www.publicjobs.ie. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 5 January 2016.
A key part of An Garda Síochána strategy in the fight against crime is to work in partnership with the community. As of 31 October the latest date for which figures are available there were 813 dedicated Community Gardaí working and engaging with communities both urban and rural.
It is, of course, the case that all Gardaí have a role to play in addressing community policing issues as and when the need arises. In that sense, community policing involves far more than a single unit within An Garda Síochána, a point highlighted by the Garda Inspectorate in their third report entitled "Policing in Ireland—Looking Forward" in which they stated that community policing is a fundamental policing philosophy and that there is a strong foundation for it in Ireland.
An Garda Síochána now operates a model of Community Policing which aims to build upon and enhance progress made so far. I fully support this renewed emphasis on Community Policing particularly in light of the priority given to this in the Programme for Government. The model is about renewing, reinvigorating and restructuring the community policing function within An Garda Síochána to deliver a consistent national structure to the community policing function, a more co-ordinated and efficient Garda service to the community and a spread of good practice and quality of service in community policing on a national basis.
Distribution of Probationer Gardaí 2015 by Division

DMR East 10 DMR North 19
DMR North Central 23 DMR South 19
DMR South Central 20 DMR West 30
Kildare 15 Laois/Offaly 9
Meath 5 Westmeath 5
Wicklow 10 Cavan/Monaghan 10
Donegal 10 Louth 10
Sligo/Leitrim 5 Kilkenny/Carlow 10
Tipperary 5 Waterford 14
Wexford 15 Cork City 7
Cork North 0 Cork West 5
Kerry 10 Limerick 9
Clare 10 Galway 5
Mayo 5 Roscommon/Longford 0