517. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of recruitment campaigns to An Garda Síochána in each of the past five years; the number of applications received in respect of each campaign; the number of persons that joined An Garda Síochána as a result of the campaigns; when each of the processes concluded; if the applications received in November 2016 are still being assessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19570/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Recruitment to An Garda Síochána is governed by the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 2013. The Public Appointments Service (PAS), on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, manages the initial recruitment stages for selection of Garda Trainees with the final stages of the recruitment process in which candidates are vetted, complete a physical competency test and a medical examination, managed by the Commissioner. I, as Minister, have no direct involvement in the matter.
As the Deputy will be aware, a programme of accelerated recruitment into An Garda Síochána is on-going with a view to reaching 15,000 Gardaí as part of an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 by 2021.
This is an ambitious programme of recruitment and will require a continuous pipeline of suitable candidates. To service this requirement An Garda Síochána has held six recruitment campaigns since December 2013, including the most recent recruitment campaign, which closed in April.
The number of applicants in respect of each campaign is detailed in the table below.

Competition advertised No. applicants for Garda Trainee (approx)
December 2013 24700
January 2016 15900
September 2016 5100
May 2017 5400
May 2018 6030
April 2019 5300

I am informed by An Garda Síochána that there are a number of applicants from previous recruitment campaigns who are still being processed. Subject to final approval by An Garda Síochána, successful applicants from these campaigns are considered first for intakes into the Garda College, in accordance with the candidate's place on the Order of Merit. There is no set time frame for offers to applicants as this is dependent on their files being fully completed and the intake dates into the Garda College. All applicants remain on the panel until such time as they are offered a place in the Garda College, with the exception of those who are deemed unsuitable, fail the Medical or Physical Competence Test (PCT) or withdraw from the competition. It is anticipated that successful applicants from the recent recruitment campaign may enter the Garda college from approximately mid 2020.
Approximately 2,600 Garda recruits have successfully completed training and attested as members of An Garda Síochána since the reopening of the Garda College in 2014. This has seen an increase in the number of Garda members to just over 14,000 at the end of 2018, a net increase of over 1,000 since the end of 2016.
The Garda Commissioner has informed me that he intends to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019. I have been assured by the Garda Commissioner that this level of recruitment of Garda members planned for 2019 will ensure that, taking account of projected retirements, the Government's commitment to increasing the strength of An Garda Síochána to 15,000 Garda members by 2021 will be achieved.