Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí at all ranks retiring in 2017 and over the next two years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15932/17]
122. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if an extra 500 gardaí other than those previously deemed to be due for retirement are likely to retire in the next three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15933/17]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 121 and 122 together.
Retirement of members of An Garda Síochána is governed by statutory provisions which set the mandatory retirement age for all members at 60 years of age. Members of An Garda Síochána who joined the organisation prior to 1 April 2004 may retire on full pension once they have served for at least 30 years and they have reached 50 years of age. Members of An Garda Síochána who joined the organisation on or after 1 April 2004 may retire on full pension once they have served at least 30 years and have reached 55 years of age. A member has the option of continuing to serve until they reach 60 years of age subject to the Garda Commissioner being satisfied that the member is fully competent and available to undertake, and fully capable of undertaking, the duties of his or her position as a member of the Garda Síochána.
This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians.
This plan is well on course to be achieved. This year, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Funding has also been provided for the recruitment of 300 Garda Reserves.
I can assure the Deputy that projected departures from An Garda Síochána are kept under continuing review and the level of recruitment adjusted as necessary in order to achieve the desired strength of An Garda Síochána . It is expected that there will be in the region of 300 departures each year in the next three years.
I am advised that, since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, there has been a total intake of some 1,400 new recruits with another 600 scheduled to enter the College by the end of this year. I am informed by the Commissioner that some 839 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. I am also informed that another 750 trainee Garda are scheduled to attest this year which will see Garda numbers, after projected retirements of 300 are taken into account, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end - a net increase of 700 in the total Garda strength since recruitment recommenced.
This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources she needs to allow her to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division.
This investment in personnel is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will be aware of the significant resources that have been made available to An Garda Síochána under the Government's Capital Plan 2016 - 2021. In particular, some €205 million in additional funding for Garda ICT and €46 million for new Garda vehicles has been allocated over the lifetime of the plan. This investment will facilitate the provision of more effective policing services and I have no doubt that these new resources now coming on stream will see an increase in Garda visibility in our communities.