88. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí available for duty on a given day; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21311/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is statutorily responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters, and I, as Minister, do not have responsibility for this matter.
I am informed by the Commissioner that as of the 31 March 2019, the latest date for which information is available, the overall strength of An Garda Síochána was 14,160 with 517 Reserves and 2,646 Civilians.
I can assure the Deputy that 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.
Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,600 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. Garda numbers reached the target of 14,000 by the end of 2018 and are on track to reach 15,000 by 2021.
The Commissioner has this year been provided with an additional €100 million bringing his budget to almost €1.8 billion, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year. The Commissioner has now informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and 600 Garda Civilian Staff. This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019.
I believe that the injection of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions.
For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link below: