Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Ceisteanna (21)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

21. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each of the Cork divisions; the number of retirements over the past year; the number of new trainees assigned to each Cork division in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

It is important to be clear that under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for management of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources. This includes responsibility for personnel matters and the distribution of personnel across the various Garda Divisions.  As Minister I have no direct role in these matters.  I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of the number of Gardaí and Probationers allocated to each of the Cork divisions is available on my Department’s website and is updated every month with the latest data provided by An Garda Síochána. I have reviewed the details of the Cork workforce and I would point out that the number of Garda members and staff in all of the Cork Divisions has increased over recent years.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. We currently have approximately 14,200 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,900 Garda staff. And as part of the Government’s plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, there is ongoing and increased recruitment both of new Gardaí as well as Garda staff.  

Since the reopening of the Garda College in 2014, approximately 2,800 probationers have attested and been assigned to frontline policing duties nationwide. Another 200 Gardaí are due to attest at the end of this month. Of these probationers, 138 have been assigned to the Cork Divisions. 

As of 31 October 2019, which is the most recent data available, there are 700 members in Cork city Division, 335 in Cork North and 304 in Cork West.  Taking account of retirements and departures, there are now 114 additional Gardaí across the Cork Divisions since the end of 2015, representing an overall 9% increase in Garda members across all the Cork Divisions since the end of 2015.

These Garda members are supported by 160 Garda Staff, which represents a 50% increase in the Cork area since 2015. This increase in Garda staff levels supports the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative to operational policing duties, where their training and expertise can be used to best effect.  

 With regard to retirements, I am advised by the Commissioner that projected departures are kept under continuous review and that the level of recruitment is adjusted as necessary in order to maintain the desired strength.  

As the Deputy may be aware, the retirement of members of An Garda Síochána is governed by law, which sets the mandatory retirement age for all members at 60 years of age.  Members of An Garda Síochána who joined prior to 1 April 2004 may retire on full pension at 50 years of age once they have served at least 30 years and those who joined on or after 1 April 2004 may retire on full pension at 55 years of age with 30 years service. Gardaí have the option of continuing to serve until they reach 60, subject to the Garda Commissioner being satisfied that they are fully competent and available to undertake their duties.   

I am informed that there have been a total of 39 retirements in the Cork Divisions during 2018 and 2019.  The following table sets out the number of members who retired on a Voluntary, Compulsory or a Cost Neutral Early Retirement basis in each Cork Division in 2018 and 2019, as provided to me by the Garda authorities.

Year 

 Cork City

 Cork  North

 Cork West

 Total

 2018

 12

 6

 3

 21

 2019 (as of 15 November

 10

 3

 5

 18

 Total

 22

 9

 8

 39