119. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of vacant promotional positions to be filled at all levels throughout An Garda Síochána to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50019/18]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.
Appointments to the ranks of sergeant and inspector are a matter for the Commissioner under section 14 of Garda Síochána Act 2005 . I am pleased that the Budget 2019 provides resources to increase the number of sergeants in An Garda Síochána by 110 and the number of inspectors by 81 next year. As the numbers in An Garda Síochána continue to increase towards the target of 15,000 by 2021, it is imperative that the appropriate and commensurate numbers of supervisors are put in place.
I am advised by the Commissioner that competitions recently concluded for promotion to the rank of sergeant and inspector with the aim of bringing the number in these ranks up to the full strength as agreed under the Employment Control Framework (ECF). The allocation of successful candidates is currently underway, with 170 sergeants having been appointed to date and appointments to the rank of inspector expected in the coming weeks.
The process of selecting and appointing members to the ranks of assistant commissioner, chief superintendent and superintendent lies with the Policing Authority since 1 January 2017. As Minister, I have no role in the selection and appointment of candidates to these ranks with the exception of members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) whose appointment by the Authority must be approved by the Government. The Authority held competitions for each of these ranks in 2017. A further superintendent competition was completed in July 2018 and a panel of candidates established by the Authority. A competition for the rank of chief superintendent has just been completed. The existence of panels ensures that vacancies arising can be filled without any undue delay.
Appointments to the ranks of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are made by Government upon the nomination of the Authority.
For the Deputy's information I have set out in the attached table the Garda strength of each rank as compared to the ECF as of 26 November 2018, the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by the Garda Commissioner. I have requested the information sought in respect of Garda staff promotional vacancies from the Commissioner and I will forward it directly to the Deputy when it is available.

Strength of each rank as compared to the ECF as of 26 November 2018
Rank Strength ECF Vacancies
Commissioner 1 1 0
D/Commissioner 1 2 1
A/Commissioner 9 9 0
Chief Superintendent 45 47 2
Superintendent 166 168 2
Inspector 233 300* 67
Sergeant 1986 2,000* 14

* The ECF will increase in 2019 for Inspector’s by 81 to 381, and for Sergeant’s by 110 to 2110.