111. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Justice if new initiatives to promote more recruitment and progression of women within An Garda Síochána are being undertaken. [51159/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible by law for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, which includes recruitment and personnel matters. As Minister, I play no direct role in these independent functions.
However, I am informed by Garda Authorities that as of 30 September 2021, 3,974 sworn members of An Garda Síochána are female. This means that 27.7% of sworn Garda members are female and 72.3% male. This compares with 24.4% female and 75.6% male in 2010.
A concerted effort is being made to encourage women and minority communities to consider a career in An Garda Síochána so that its membership reflects the community that it serves, in line with the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. Recent recruitment campaigns have made a significant effort through online videos and other media to attract female candidates as well as candidates from minority communities and diverse social groups.
I am advised by An Garda Síochána that Information Days have been held in advance of closing dates of internal competitions where women are underrepresented. I understand that having women available to answer questions who are already carrying out the particular role advertised is a key feature of the Information Days.
The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, contains a commitment to increase the diversity within An Garda Síochána prioritising the identification and removal of barriers to recruiting and retaining people from diverse and minority background. This work is being taken forward as part of An Garda Síochána's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy (2020-2021). Work is ongoing to develop a successor Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, a key element of which will focus on addressing under representation of women at all levels of the organisation.
My Department's Justice Plan 2021 commits to supporting the EDI Strategy to ensure the organisation can attract, retain and develop a diverse and inclusive workforce, including preparation of a diversity recruitment roadmap.
While the current number of women members in An Garda Síochána is broadly in line with the percentage of women in police services across England and Wales, there is clearly scope for further improvement. I expect that the above steps being taken by An Garda Síochána will ensure that the membership of the organisation can evolve to more closely to reflect the society that it serves.