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Question

539. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of posts remaining to be filled in An Garda Síochána in each division throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20839/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of An Garda Síochána on the 31 March 2015 the latest date for which figures are readily available was 12,734.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions and Districts, the various Garda national units and of course Garda Headquarters. 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 these resources. This necessary ongoing flexibility in the distribution of personnel means that it is not feasible to identify specific vacancies within specific areas of the force.
At a national level, sanction has been given by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for a maximum strength in each rank. The agreed strengths for ranks above Garda rank are given in the table, together with current actual strength (as of the end of March 2015). Where current actual strength is below the approved maximum strength, it is the Garda Commissioner who will make the necessary arrangements to have the balance of posts filled through promotion competitions. Competitions to fill vacancies at Sergeant and Inspector are currently being organised by the Garda Commissioner.

Rank Actual strength Approved max. strength
COMMISSIONER 1 1
D/COMMISSIONER 0 2
A/COMMISSIONER 7 8
C/SUPERINTENDENT 44 45
SUPERINTENDENT 165 166
INSPECTOR 259 300
SERGEANT 1,902 2,000
This ongoing increase in staffing happened at a time when the country was facing a financial emergency. This is significant and shows that the Government and the HSE protected maternity services in the toughest financial environment. It is disappointing but true to form that the Opposition has chosen to ignore this. Now that the economy is growing again we can do better.