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522. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda Reserves in each year since its establishment in 2006. [25164/18]

523. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda Reserves in each Limerick city division; the number of reserves in each division that went on to become gardaí or are in training in each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25165/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 522 and 523 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the carrying on and managing generally the administration and business of the An Garda Síochána including arranging for the recruitment, training and appointment of the Reserve members. Further, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in these matters. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.
I am advised by the Commissioner that the strength of the Reserve on the 30 April 2018 was 562, 27 of whom are attached to the Limerick Division. It is regrettable that there has been a substantial reduction in the strength of the Reserve in recent years from a peak of 1,164 in 2013. The fall-off arises from a range of factors, not least the lifting in 2014 of the moratorium on recruitment of trainee Gardaí which has affected Reserve numbers in two ways: firstly, since 2014, 246 serving Reserves have successfully applied to become trainee Gardaí, and secondly, resources in both An Garda Síochána and in the Public Appointments Service (PAS) have been focused on delivering an accelerated programme of recruitment of full time members of An Garda Síochána.
I am sure that the Deputy will agree, notwithstanding the very valuable contribution of Reserve members throughout the country, that it was the right decision, with finite resources, to prioritise the running of recruitment campaigns to replenish the full-time ranks of An Garda Síochána over the last three years.
The "Programme for a Partnership Government" includes a commitment to double the Garda Reserve to act in a supportive role undertaking local patrols and crime reduction measures. In line with this, the Government has in place a plan to achieve a Reserve strength of 2,000 by 2021.
With the plan to reach 15,000 Garda members well on track, it was possible for the Commissioner and the Public Appointments Service to undertake a new recruitment campaign for Garda Reserves last March. That competition attracted 2,394 applicants of whom 498 successfully completed the initial stages carried out by PAS. These applications are currently being processed by the Garda Appointments Office. The time frame for this can vary due to a number factors, including the length of the vetting process which may, for example, be more time consuming if the applicant has resided abroad or is deferred for medical reasons. It is expected that the first of the successful candidates will commence training in the Garda College in the coming months.
In conjunction with the major expansion of the Reserve over the next number of years, we must ensure that it is used optimally to support effective policing. To inform future decisions around the use of the Reserve, An Garda Síochána is conducting a strategic review as a matter of priority to be completed in the first half of the year as set out in the Policing Plan 2018.
As a first step, the Garda Executive has taken a decision to transfer the management of the Reserve to the Assistant Commissioner with responsibility for Community Engagement. This is intended to ensure that its development and deployment is viewed more broadly through a community policing lens. This is a very welcome step as it is my strong view that the greatest dividend to be gained from the Reserve is in terms of a visible presence on the ground and engaging with local communities.
For the Deputy's information I have set out in the tables the number of Reserves in each of the years requested by the Deputy in tabular form. I also include a table setting out the total number of Garda Reserves who have commenced training as a Garda Trainee from 2007 up to May 2018. Please note, that due to the moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 there was no recruitment of Garda Trainees from 2010 until 2014.
Garda Reserve 2006 - 2018

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018*
Total 36 217 331 478 700 877 991 1164 1124 953 695 589 562

*Up to 30 April 2018.
Garda Reserves who have commenced as Garda Trainees from 2007 up to May 2018
Year Division No. of Reserves Total
2007 DMR North Central 1
DMR South Central 1
DMR North 1 3
2008 Cork City 2
Cork North 1
DMR North 1
DMR North Central 3
DMR South 1
DMR South Central 4
DMR West 2
Galway 2
Sligo/Leitrim 1
Tipperary 1
Waterford 1
Wicklow 1 20
2009 DMR North 3
DMR North Central 1
DMR South Central 1
Kilkenny/Carlow 1
Cavan/Monaghan 1 7
2014 Cork City 2
Cork West 1
DMR East 1
DMR North 3
DMR North Central 3
DMR South 6
Donegal 1
Galway 3
Kerry 2
Kildare 1
Kilkenny/Carlow 1
Laois/Offaly 1
Limerick 2
Louth 1
Mayo 1
Meath 2
Tipperary 1
Waterford 2 34
2015 Cavan/Monaghan 1
Clare 2
Cork City 2
Cork North 3
Cork West 4
DMR North 4
DMR North Central 6
DMR South 2
DMR South Central 3
DMR West 5
Galway 3
Kerry 1
Kildare 1
Laois/Offaly 1
Louth 3
Mayo 1
Meath 4
Roscommon/Longford 1
Sligo/Leitrim 2
Tipperary 4
Waterford 2
Westmeath 1
Wexford 1
Wicklow 1 58
2016 Cavan/Monaghan 2
Cork City 9
Cork North 3
Cork West 6
DMR East 2
DMR North 2
DMR North Central 9
DMR South 2
DMR South Central 3
DMR West 11
Donegal 4
Galway 2
Kerry 4
Kildare 6
Kilkenny/Carlow 5
Laois/Offaly 1
Limerick 9
Louth 2
Mayo 5
Meath 3
Sligo/Leitrim 2
Tipperary 4
Waterford 2
Westmeath 1
Wexford 7
Wicklow 2 108
2017 DMR South Central 1
Cavan/Monaghan 1
Cork City 5
Cork West 1
DMR East 2
DMR North Central 2
DMR South 1
DMR South Central 1
Donegal 2
Galway 1
Kerry 1
Kildare 2
Limerick 3
Louth 2
Roscommon/Longford 2
Sligo/Leitrim 1
Tipperary 2
Waterford 3 33
2018 Cork West 2
DMR North 1
DMR South 2
DMR South Central 1
Donegal 1
Kildare 1
Laois/Offaly 1
Louth 1
Meath 1
Roscommon/Longford 1
Wexford 1 13
Total 276