143. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent of gender balance within An Garda Síochána at all ranks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4662/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am informed by the Commissioner that the total number of women in all ranks of An Garda Síochána as of the 31 December 2018, the latest date for which figures are currently available was 3,759 or 27 % of the total strength. This compares favourably with 3,130 or 21.7% of the total strength on 31 December 2008. While this is broadly in line with other police services in England and Wales, there is clearly plenty of scope for improvement.
In the course of its work the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI) held semi-structured focus group discussions with female Garda members to explore the experiences of female Garda personnel regarding their careers, training and development and future prospects. Among the recommendations made in the CoFPI report, which the Government adopted in December 2018, is the reform of the current roster and greater flexibility of work practices which would enhance the attractiveness and job satisfaction of a career in An Garda Síochána.
In addition, the report also recommended that An Garda Síochána should reflect the diversity of Irish society, not only in gender and ethnicity, but also in terms of socio-economic, educational and geographical backgrounds and that they would need to develop recruitment strategies which reach a more diverse intake.
An Garda Síochána is developing a Garda Diversity and Inclusion Strategy which is at an advanced stage and recognises the importance of recruiting from a wide cross-section of the population so that the organisation provides a policing service that reflects the growing diversity of Irish society.
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. Recent recruitment campaigns have made a significant effort through on-line videos and other media to attract candidates from minority communities and diverse social groups. In the most recent recruitment campaign a series of videos and text were produced in multiple languages including English, Irish, French, Spanish, Italian and Arabic. They were published on the Garda Facebook page which has more than 180,000 followers.
For the Deputy's information I have attached in tabular form, as requested, the number of women by rank on the 31 December 2018, the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by the Commissioner.

Rank Male Female Female as % of Total
Commissioner 1 0 0%
Deputy Commissioner 1 0 0%
Assistant Commissioner 9 2 22%
Chief Superintendent 45 7 16%
Superintendent 165 17 10%
Inspector 297 46 15%
Sergeant 1996 402 20%
Garda 11518 3285 29%
Total 14032 3759 27%