112. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the intake of Garda Síochána recruits at Templemore College during each of the years 2012 to 2016 to date and the projected intake for the remainder of 2016. [12559/16]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): 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 deter crime. Key to achieving this goal is the commitment in the Programme for Government, "A Programme for a Partnership Government" to continue the ongoing accelerated Garda recruitment programme with a view to increasing Garda numbers to 15,000.
The Garda College reopened in September 2014 with the first intake of new recruits since 2009. Since then a total of 700 Garda trainees have been recruited with a further 450 planned to be recruited during the remainder of this year. To date there have been seven intakes of Garda Trainees to the Garda College, giving a total intake of 700, broken down as follows, 200 in 2014, 350 in 2015 and 150 so far this year. It is expected that there will be a further intake into the Garda College of 150 trainees next month, with further intakes scheduled for September and November of this year. This will bring the number of new recruits to 1,150 by the end of 2016.
So far 395 of the new Garda trainees have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream uniform duties and are on the ground in communities nationwide. It is expected that a further 300 trainees will attest by the end of this year which, when taking account of projected retirements, will bring Garda numbers to around the 13,000 mark this year.
We must, I believe, endeavour to make more rapid progress than this to reach our target of 15,000 and I will be engaging with my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, in relation to increasing the planned annual intake this year and in coming years. In accelerating recruitment it is, of course, essential to ensure that An Garda Síochána has the capacity to train larger numbers without any diminution in the quality of its excellent Bachelor of Arts in Applied Policing, and to provide appropriate supervision and support to newly qualified Gardaí to ensure that victims, and the public generally, are well served by their policing service. My officials will be engaging with Garda management and also with the Public Appointments Service as a matter of priority in relation to the preparation of a recruitment plan for the next five years that will deliver increased numbers of Gardaí without any compromise on the quality of those recruited or the training programme. Question No. 113 answered with Question No. 107.