I would like to assure the House that the Garda College remains fully open as the main training centre for the Garda Síochána. The Chief Superintendent in charge of the College, and the members of the team there, develop, coordinate and direct all training interventions up to the most senior ranks. The College provides operationally focused training across a range of areas including firearms training, driver training, public order training, operational skills programmes, management development programmes and of course Garda Reserve training. In 2012 training was provided in the College for over 5,000 members of the Garda Síochána, and I can confirm for the House, and all those connected with the Garda College, that the College will continue to provide a centre of excellence for training for the Garda Síochána.
In relation to Garda strength, I have said that I would not like to see Garda strength fall below the level of 13,000, 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. 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.
An Garda Síochána have had a very successful number of months and crime is down in all areas as can be seen from recently published statistics. I am confident that An Garda Síochána, which is an extremely capable and talented force, will be able to carry out their duties, that frontline Garda services will continue to be prioritised, and that the crackdown on organised crime will be maintained.