The programme for Government contains a commitment to increase the strength of the force to a record 12,000 by the end of 2002. It is planned to achieve this over the lifetime of this Government. The strength of Garda Síochána at the end of 1999 was 11,458.
In June of last year the Government approved my proposals for a Garda recruitment competition and the recruitment of 500 Garda trainees in 2000. This follows two previous decisions of this Government to recruit 550 trainees in each of the years 1998 and 1999.
The need for further recruitment beyond the year 2000 to meet the Government commitment will be kept under review in my Department and any proposals in this regard will be a matter for consideration by the Government in due course.