8. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the increase in the number of gardaí that the Cork city division can expect in 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40453/16]
Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: The 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 deter crime. The most recent Central Statistics Office, CSO, figures for the second quarter of 2016 show that there were decreases in many crime categories, including a 26% reduction in burglaries. Unfortunately, there were increases in sexual crimes. The decreases were due to targeted operations and the very concerted drive against crime being implemented under Operation Thor. We are planning to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel, comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Garda Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We have provided funding for 2017 for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the reform plan. Every area of the country will benefit from the recruitment plan.
To reach a strength of 15,000 will require 3,200 new Garda members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next four years. Very high numbers still apply to join the Garda Síochána. The Cork city division, like all other Garda divisions, will benefit from these new resources becoming available. A new recruitment campaign, which includes a special stream for eligible Garda Reserve members, was announced on 8 September. As new people are becoming available, every region will benefit. Since the reopening of the Garda College, 679 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, including ten to the Cork city division. The benefit of the recruitment can be seen, but we want it to continue.