1396. Deputy Johnny Guirke asked the Minister for Justice the status of the strategic review of the Garda reserve due in 2019; the schedule for the recommencement of recruitment to the Garda reserve which was suspended pending the review; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18608/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Garda Commissioner is responsible, by law, for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, including the recruitment and training of Garda members and staff. As Minister, I have no direct role in such decisions.
The Deputy may wish to note that, earlier this year, 72 Garda Reserves attested upon completion of their training. Members of the Reserve already work full time jobs but willingly give their free time to An Garda Síochána in order to strengthen their local communities. As of 12 April 2021, which is the most recent data available, the total number of serving Garda Reserves nationally is now 476.
The report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland concluded that the Garda Reserve programme is not utilised to its full potential. The Commission recommended that future recruitment to the Garda Reserve should be paused, pending the outcome of a comprehensive strategic review, in order to examine how best to structure the Garda Reserve to meet the needs of An Garda Síochána. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the final draft of the Garda Reserve Strategy is currently being reviewed within the organisation.
Once the Garda Reserve Strategy is approved, an implementation plan will be put in place and consideration to recommence recruitment to the Garda Reserve will be given in line with workforce planning requirements.