717. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice when the next Garda recruitment drive is due to take place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52125/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended), for the deployment of An Garda Síochána throughout the State and for the management and administration of Garda business, including the recruitment and training of Garda members and staff. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
As the Deputy may be aware, COVID-19 restrictions on the Garda Training College in Templemore constrained recruitment and training for periods over the last 18 months. However, I am glad to confirm that 450 Gardaí will be recruited this year and the funding provided for next year fully supports the sustained recruitment of Garda members and staff.
In particular, the funding announced by the government in Budget 2022 includes provision for the recruitment of 800 new Garda recruits and 400 Garda staff in 2022 - an additional 1,200 personnel. This increase in the number of Garda members and staff will deliver significant growth in operational policing hours nationwide and improved services to the public generally. Redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and support roles will also continue next year, thus allowing highly trained Gardaí to focus on front-line policing duties. The organisation's capacity will be further strengthened by the recruitment of additional Garda staff, including to specialist roles to support the investigation of crime and enhance the management of the organisation.
An Garda Síochána have advised that a recruitment plan for 2022 is currently being developed to manage the recruitment processes for Garda Members and Garda Staff roles. I understand there are a number of successful candidates who will be called from the last competition but a new Garda Trainee competition is also being planned which will be launched before the end of this year or early next year.