Thursday, 2 May 2013

Ceisteanna (16)

John Browne

Ceist:

16. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans for the total strength of the force in 2013, 2014 and 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20753/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The strength of the Force has been reducing due to the moratorium on recruitment introduced by the previous Government and the strength, as of the 31 March 2013, is 13,366. While it is difficult to predict with any certainty the number of Garda members who will retire in any year, given that members with 30 years service may retire on full pension after the age of 50, a retirement rate in line with recent experience could see Garda strength approaching 13,000 by the end of this year.

Looking forward to future years, I have already said that I would not like to see Garda strength fall below that level, and I will bring proposals to Government shortly in relation to maintaining Garda operational strength. It is of course the case that a resumption of Garda recruitment, at a time when both overall headcount and the size of the pay bill in the public service must be reduced, would have financial implications that must be managed within the overall resources available to Government. It is simply not credible for any Deputy to pay lip service to the need for budgetary discipline while at the same time implying through Questions in the House that the cost of significant elements of the public service can be increased without regard for the financial consequences. In that context, it is important that the current impasse in relation to the LRC proposals on saving €1 billion from the public service pay bill, including €300 million this year, is first resolved. As Deputies will be aware, the LRC is currently exploring with all the parties concerned the potential for such a resolution, and of course I hope that there is a positive outcome to that process.