The Garda authorities are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel. They have informed me that the personnel strength of the force, including all ranks, as at 23 February is 11,920.
In April 2000 the Government agreed, inter alia, to a system of delegated authority. This means that recruitment is carried out to maintain the strength of the force at an agreed level. In April 2002 the Government agreed to increase the approved strength of the force by 200 to 12,200.
During 2003 the Garda college accepted 690 trainees. The Commissioner has projected, based on an anticipated rate of retirement, that authorised strength of 12,200 will be achieved during this year. He also indicated that 342 trainees are required to meet the demand created by compulsory retirements and projected voluntary retirements and other discharges for 2004. He cautions that all projections are based on variables and are therefore subject to change. At present recruitment is carried out to maintain the force at its authorised maximum strength.