198. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide an update regarding her plans not to have gardaí carry out administrative work; her plans to recruit civilians to do this work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5448/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of all personnel, including civilian staff, among the Garda Regions, Divisions and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of all resources.
Civilians have always worked in An Garda Síochána and there have been significant increases in their numbers in recent years from 1,688 at the end of 2007 to approximately 2,054 (whole time equivalents) as of the 31 December 2014. Civilians are employed in a wide range of management, administrative, technical and operational duties covering such positions as Chief Administration Officer, Executive Director of Finance, Crime Analysts, Head of Legal Affairs, clerical officers, photographers etc. A civilian Executive Director of Human Resources and Personnel Development was appointed at the end of 2014. I also recently received sanction from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for the filling of a number of priority civilian posts either by open recruitment or internal promotion competition.
Apart from the posts outlined and the administrative support duties in Garda stations and offices, civilianisation has also enabled the establishment or expansion of some vital services which are wholly or largely provided by civilian staff – including the Garda National Immigration Bureau, the Garda Information Service Centre, the Garda Central Vetting Unit, the Fixed Charge Processing Office, the civilianisation of the Call Taking function in the Command and Control Centre and most recently the appointment of Immigration Control officers in Dublin airport.
We will continue to maximise the number of civilian support staff in An Garda Síochána so that highly trained Gardaí can be released from administrative tasks to frontline operational policing.