Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Ceisteanna (216)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

216. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of retirements from An Garda Síochána in each year of the past decade and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53724/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, 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 have set out below the number of retirements in each of the years 2009-2018 and to date in 2019, as provided to me by the Garda authorities. The Deputy will note that these figures include compulsory and voluntary retirements, as well as cost neutral early retirements.

Year

Total Retirements

2019* as of 13 December

223

2018

218

2017

226

2016

228

2015

238

2014

249

2013

296

2012

424

2011

438

2010

363

2009

722

I am advised by the Garda authorities 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 will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including by arranging for the recruitment and training of the members of An Garda Síochána.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, approximately 3,000 probationers have attested and been assigned to frontline policing duties nationwide, including the 197 new probationers that attested on 29 November. We now have over 14,300 Garda members nationwide and we are on track to reach the Government's target of a total of 15,000 Garda members, as part of an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 by 2021.

In the same period, Garda staff numbers have increased significantly through the ongoing process of civilianisation. Garda staff numbers have increased from 2,055 at the end of 2014 to over 2,900 today. The accelerated recruitment of Garda staff is facilitating the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative to mainstream policing duties where their training and expertise can be used to best effect.

Taken together, this increase in Garda and civilian staff numbers means a significant increase in operational policing hours nationwide in recent years.

The unprecedented funding of €1.882 billion provided to An Garda Síochána in Budget 2020 will also allow for the recruitment of up to 700 new Gardaí and additional Garda staff next year. The appropriate balance between Gardaí and Garda staff will be for the Garda Commissioner to determine, on the basis of operational need. The ongoing recruitment will provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible, effective and responsive policing service nationwide.