226. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which Garda numbers have increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12377/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that as of 31 January 2019, the total Garda strength was approximately 14,000. As of the same date, there were approximately 2,530 Garda Staff employed by An Garda Síochána undertaking a range of administrative and technical duties in the organisation.
The Deputy will be aware An Garda Síochána is currently undertaking a programme of accelerated recruitment, as part of the Government’s commitment to achieve an overall workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, including 15,000 Garda members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.
Since the re-opening of Templemore College in September 2014, approximately 2,600 new Garda members have attested and been assigned to duties in communities throughout the country.
This approach to continue and increase recruitment of both Gardaí and Garda Staff is very much in line with the recommendations of the Commission for the Future of Policing in Ireland which Government approved in December. The Government also at that time published an implementation plan ‘A Policing Service for the Future’ which among its actions will include the recruitment on 600 Garda in 2019 and the redeployment of 500 Garda to visible front line duties and the recruitment of 600 Garda Staff.
These proposals will ensure a strong and visible police presence throughout the country which will maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.