105. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of promotions at all levels in An Garda Síochána made in the past 12 months; the number of vacancies still to be filled at whatever level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40783/16]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Appointments to the ranks of Sergeant and Inspector are a matter for the Garda Commissioner under section 14 of Garda Síochána Act 2005. I am informed by the Commissioner that in the period 1 January 2015 to 25 November 2016, 275 Garda were promoted to the rank of Garda Sergeant and 102 Sergeants were promoted to the rank of Inspector. These appointments were made in accordance with the statutory framework as set out in the 2005 Act and related regulations. In particular, the appointees were drawn in order of merit from promotion panels formed on foot of competitions held by the Commissioner in accordance with the Garda Síochána (Promotion) Regulations 2006. I understand that these promotion panels are now exhausted and that the Commissioner intends to announce new competitions for promotion to the rank of Sergeant and Inspector shortly.
In relation to the senior ranks, at the request of the Garda Commissioner, the Government has made 43 appointments to these ranks this year as follows: 5 to the rank of Assistant Commissioner, 13 to the rank of Chief Superintendent and 25 to the rank of Superintendent. These appointments were to fill vacancies that had arisen and were within the agreed strength of the Employment Control Framework (ECF). As matters stand the senior ranks of An Garda Síochána have their full complement and I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that no further vacancies are anticipated within the ECF this year.
As the Deputy is aware the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 contemplates the Policing Authority assuming the function of selecting and appointing persons to the senior ranks. I am absolutely committed to the Authority assuming this function and intend to bring the necessary Regulations to Government for approval next week with a view to the Authority taking on the function on 1 January 2017. Once this is done, it will be a matter for the Authority to undertake its own selection competitions for appointments to these ranks. The establishment of the Authority represents one of the most significant and progressive reforms to the justice sector over recent years and the transfer of the appointment function is a particularly important signal of this reform.
Information in relation to the number of civilian promotions within An Garda Síochána for the period in question and the number of vacancies at the rank of Sergeant, Inspector and the civilian promotional grades has been requested from the Garda Commissioner and I will forward this information directly to the Deputy when it is to hand.