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Question

172. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of newly qualified trainee gardaí assigned by county in each of the years from 2010 to 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8038/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, and I as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. I am assured by the Commissioner that Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with the overall policing arrangements and operational strategies are continually monitored and reviewed. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of resources and the best possible policing service is provided to the general public.
This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.
I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, just under 1,600 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. I am pleased to say that Garda numbers, taking account of retirements, increased to 13,551 at the end of 2017 - a net increase of over 600 since the end of 2016.
I am also pleased that funding is in place to maintain this high level of investment in the Garda workforce to ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. This year a further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. Also 800 Garda trainees are scheduled to attest during the year which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, reach 14,000 by the end of 2018.
In addition, a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical skills gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front-line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training in 2018.
In so far as the allocation of newly attested Gardaí is concerned, this is a matter for the Commissioner. I am assured by the Commissioner that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of resources. However, it is important to keep in mind that newly attested Gardaí have a further 16 months of practical and classroom based training to complete in order to receive their BA in Applied Policing. To ensure that they are properly supported and supervised and have opportunities to gain the breadth of policing experience required, the Commissioner's policy is to allocate them to specially designated training stations which have the required training and development structures and resources in place, including trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme.
This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána with no new recruits attesting from 2011 to 2014. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources needed to allow the deployment of increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division.
I am informed by the Commissioner that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily available in the format requested, as resources are assigned on a Divisional basis which does not necessarily accord to county boundaries. For the Deputy's information I have set out the number of new Garda recruits by Division in each of the years 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017, in tabular form. There were no Garda trainees attested in 2011-2014.
Probationer Gardaí Allocations by Division 2010-2017

DIVISION 2010 2015 2016 2017 Total
D.M.R. EAST 10 9 19 37 75
D.M.R. NORTH 19 19 34 70 142
D.M.R. NORTH CENTRAL 25 22 44 69 160
D.M.R. SOUTH 14 19 33 66 132
D.M.R. SOUTH CENTRAL 26 21 42 78 167
D.M.R. WEST 13 29 35 73 150
KILDARE 4 14 19 47 84
LAOIS / OFFALY 5 9 20 42 76
MEATH 7 5 19 30 61
WESTMEATH 1 5 5 22 33
WICKLOW 6 7 - 19 32
CAVAN / MONAGHAN 5 10 8 22 45
DONEGAL 13 10 5 13 41
LOUTH 13 10 17 34 74
SLIGO / LEITRIM 5 5 5 8 23
KILKENNY/CARLOW 4 9 10 30 53
TIPPERARY 5 5 14 21 45
WATERFORD 6 14 10 30 60
WEXFORD 1 14 10 34 59
CORK CITY 6 7 5 26 44
CORK NORTH - - 5 15 20
CORK WEST 2 5 - 15 22
KERRY 3 9 - 17 29
LIMERICK 13 9 17 18 57
CLARE 9 10 5 10 34
GALWAY 3 5 5 10 23
MAYO 3 5 - 14 22
ROSCOMMON / LONGFORD 3 - 5 10 18
TOTAL 224 286 391 880 1781