81. Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda Síochána reserves; the number in County Kildare; their role in the community; if they should be more proactive in community policing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42295/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, including, reserve members 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 as of 31 October 2015, the latest date for which figures are readily available, there are 988 reserve members in total, of which 32 are assigned to the Kildare Garda Division.
The Garda Reserve was established in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to enhance the links between An Garda Síochána and local communities and consists of voluntary unpaid members, drawn from the community, to support the work of An Garda Síochána. Reserve members make a real and tangible contribution to the policing of communities right across the country and I am fully supportive of the continued development of the Reserve. In particular, I welcome the recent conferring by the Commissioner of additional powers on reserve members under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 and also her decision that reserve members should carry out additional duties including the serving of summonses, and the issuing of Fixed Charged Penalty Notices where offences are detected.
I am pleased that the recruitment campaign for 2016 for full-time members of An Garda Síochána, which I announced last Friday, 27 November includes a special stream for eligible members of the Garda Reserve. Reserve members have undergone training in many of the skills required to be an effective full-time member of An Garda Síochána and have gained experience in operational policing and it is right that satisfactory service by a reserve member be given due recognition.
The Public Appointments Service (PAS) is organising the recruitment competition on behalf of the Garda Commissions and applications may be made through the PAS website at The closing date for applications is Tuesday 5 January 2016. I would encourage all reserves who satisfy the eligibility criteria to apply.