191. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of civilian staff employed by An Garda Síochána; and the number of such staff employed in each of the years 2013 to 2017, in tabular form. [14599/18]

192. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí carrying out full-time clerical work in An Garda Síochána in each of the years 2013 to 2017, in tabular form. [14600/18]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 191 and 192 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
The most recent figure available in respect of civilian staff employed by An Garda Síochána indicates that there are 2,254 full-time equivalents in the organisation as of 28 February 2018. This represents an increase of 255 as of the end of 2016.
The Commissioner has advised that the number of civilian staff for the years 2013-2017 is as follows:

Year Total Civilian Strength
2013 2072
2014 2055
2015 2007
2016 1999
2017 2192

As the Deputy will be aware the Government approved the Five Year Reform and High-level Workforce Plan for An Garda Síochána in July 2016. The plan encompasses the agreed recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate Report "Changing Policing in Ireland" and the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to expand the Garda work force. In relation to civilian staff the Plan sets a medium term target of 20% civilians of the overall Garda workforce by 2021. This translates to a doubling the number of civilian staff from 2,000 to 4,000 over the period. This will bring An Garda Síochána more in line with international norms and ensure that trained Gardaí are not engaging in administrative and technical duties which could be done by suitably qualified civilian staff. In this regard the Inspectorate identified some 1,500 posts that may be suitable for redeployment.
The 20% target is to be achieved through a twin-track approach: firstly, through a "civilian by default" policy to be adopted in relation to the filling of all new posts other than operational policing posts and for non-operational policing posts that become vacant, and secondly, redeployment of Gardaí and backfilling by suitably qualified civilians where necessary.
Thus far the Commissioner has received sanction in accordance with the statutory framework under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 for over 280 new posts to address critical skills and capacity gaps in the organisation and to backfill posts occupied by redeployed Gardaí. An Garda Síochána is currently engaging with the Policing Authority in relation to approval for a further 116 new civilian posts. It is also through a workforce planning exercise identifying further priority areas that would benefit from civilian staff with specific skillset
To support the redeployment programme An Garda Síochána conducted an organisation deployment survey in February 2017 which identified 2,000 roles for further examination to clarify if they could be undertaken by civilian staff. Of those, 871 roles were identified as administrative. The Commissioner has established a dedicated Project Team to drive momentum on redeployment. That Team is conducted a detailed review of the survey results to identify specific roles for redeployment on a phased basis. It is of course important to keep in mind that redeployment must be approached fairly and with regard to why the member is in an administrative role. It may be, for example that the member is on light duties due to a medical condition or is pregnant. It may also be the case that some members may require refresher training to support them in returning to the front-line. The Team is working to address these challenges and is engaging with the Garda Associations.
I am encouraged that the number of civilians working in An Garda Síochána continues to increase. Funding for a further 500 additional civilians was provided in Budget 2018. The Government is committed to meeting the 20% target and I have made it clear to the Commissioner that I expect an acceleration this year to ensure that the target is met by 2021. delete