The administration and management of An Garda Síochána is, by law, a matter for the Garda Commissioner. This includes responsibilities for matters including recruitment and training of members. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
Provision was made for up to 700 recruits to begin training in the Garda College over the course of 2020.
An initial batch of 125 new recruits began their training on 10 February. As the Deputy will appreciate, and in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated public health restrictions, public access to the Garda College has been prohibited since 12 March 2020. At that time, the February intake of recruits were among the over 300 Garda trainees attested earlier than scheduled and deployed along with sworn members of Garda College staff to operational duties in order to enhance Garda capacity to respond to the pandemic.
Subsequent to this, I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that arrangements were made to permit further intakes of Garda recruits.
In that regard, I am informed that approximately 150 new recruits are currently undergoing training under a revised delivery method, taking into account infection control advice. The first batch of approximately 75 commenced training on 25 May, and the second batch of 75 recruits commenced training on 22 June.
In light of this, I am advised by Garda authorities that the table below contains the latest information available, as requested by the Deputy:
Target Number v Actual Number of Trainee Gardaí commencing training in 2020
Target Number of Trainee Gardaí due to commence training in 2020
Actual Number of Trainee Gardaí that commenced training in 2020
As the Deputy will be aware, An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021. This level of funding is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff. As a result, Garda numbers are now over 14,600 Garda members and over 3,000 Garda staff nationwide.
Budget 2021 will allow for the recruitment of up to 620 new Gardaí and an extra 500 Garda staff. On that basis, there should be 14,700 Gardaí, with a further 300 recruits in training in Templemore, by December 2021 – a total of 15,000.