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Question

224. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an advocate for the Garda Reserve has been established within An Garda Síochána as recommended by the commission on policing; if so, the role of same; and the success to date of the objective of advocating and promoting An Garda Síochána which has been achieved. [20577/19]

225. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps taken since the beginning of 2018 to achieve a greater role for the Garda Reserve within and without the organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20578/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 224 and 225 together.
Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the allocation and distribution of resources including the recruitment and training of Garda members and members of the Garda Reserve is entirely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no responsibility in this matter. 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.
The Garda Reserve strength in each of the years from 2009 to 31 March 2019 , as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the link:
http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/006_Garda_Reserve_Strength_2009_to_March_2019.xlsx/Files/006_Garda_Reserve_Strength_2009_to_March_2019.xlsx
I am informed by An Garda Síochána that a class of approximately 100 Garda reserve recruits commenced training on 23/24 March 2019 at the Garda College, Templemore. This is a positive development and delivers on the target set out under 'A Policing Service for the Future', the implementation plan for the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.
As the Deputy will be aware, An Garda Síochána is currently conducting a strategic review of the Garda Reserve to inform future decisions around the use of the Reserve. This approach is in line with the recommendation in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland which recommended that recruitment to the Garda Reserve be paused and a Strategy developed. The Strategy is scheduled to be concluded during quarter two 2019, in line with the timelines set out in the implementation plan and will inform the development and preparation for a new Reserve recruitment drive by the end of 2019.