98. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there is a plan to increase the number of gardaí on the beat in all areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42284/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review taking into account crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.
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.
The recruitment of additional trainee Garda is essential to renew An Garda Síochána and to ensure the delivery of effective policing services throughout the country
There are currently over 2,000 full-time-equivalent civilian support staff in the Garda Síochána making up 14% of the overall Garda workforce. Civilian personnel wholly or largely staff several vital operational support areas such as the Garda Central Vetting Unit, the Garda Information Services Centre, and the Fixed Charge Processing Office These also provide vital support services in a wide range of areas, such as human resources, training & development, IT and telecommunications, finance and procurement, internal audit, research and analysis, accommodation and fleet management, scene-of-crime support and medical services. In doing so, they release highly trained Gardaí from administrative tasks to operational policing.