As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for recruitment of personnel, and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
An Garda Síochána is currently undertaking a programme of accelerated recruitment, as part of the Government’s commitment to achieve an overall workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, including 15,000 Garda members and 4,000 civilians. Substantial progress is being made towards the realisation of this vision.
I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that as of 31 May 2019, the total Garda strength was approximately 14,100. Since the reopening of Templemore College in September 2014, approximately 2,800 new Garda members have attested and been assigned to duties in communities throughout the country.
The Garda Commissioner has informed me that he intends to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019. An Garda Síochána have also indicated that approximately 300 Gardaí are expected to retire in 2019, which is in line with retirement trends over the past four years. Clearly this figure is an estimate. I have been assured by the Garda Commissioner that the recruitment of Garda members planned for 2019 will ensure that, taking account of projected retirements, the Government's commitment to increasing the strength of An Garda Síochána to 15,000 Garda members by 2021 will be achieved.
I also welcome the Garda Commissioner’s decision to recruit a net 600 Garda staff in 2019 which will allow for the redeployment of approximately 500 experienced Gardaí to frontline and visible policing duties by the end of this year.
As the Deputy will be aware, Budget 2020 is still under consideration. In line with normal procedures, funding provision in respect of Garda recruitment for 2020 will be considered as part of the Estimates process.