Dáil Éireann - Volume 586 - 01 June, 2004

Written Answers. - Garda Training.

  65. Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the membership of the Garda at the latest date for which figures are available; if he has received Cabinet approval for the recruitment of 2,000 additional gardaí; the annual capacity of the Garda Training College at Templemore; if he has plans to extend the college or otherwise increase training capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16300/04]

  Mr. McDowell:I am informed by the Garda authorities who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the personnel strength of the Garda Síochána, all ranks, as at 28 May 2004 was 11,964.

In April 2000, the Government agreed, inter alia, to a system of delegated authority under which recruitment is carried out to maintain the strength of the force at an agreed level.

In April 2002, the Government agreed to increase the approved strength of the force by 200 to 12,200. Recruitment was carried out during 2003 with a view to bringing the strength of the force to 12,200 by 31 December 2004.

The programme for Government states that the Government will complete the current expansion of the Garda Síochána and increase recruitment so that numbers will increase by a further 2,000. This commitment remains, and while it will not be possible to increase numbers beyond the approved strength of 12,200 for as long as the cap on public service numbers remains in place, I will ask the Government to look again at how quickly budgetary circumstances will permit progress towards achieving the target of 14,000 to be made.

The Garda College has accommodation on a weekly basis of 400 single rooms. These are utilised on a weekly basis to cater for student and course accommodation. The student garda “living out” programme that has been developed to cater for increased numbers of garda trainees, enables garda students to be accommodated off campus and within the environs of Templemore and can accommodate a further 300 students per week.

The implementation of the Government commitment to increase the strength of the force by a further 2,000 represents a significant [1248] challenge for the garda training college. The annual intake required to implement the commitment would require an enhancement of the current capacity of the Garda College, and this will be factored into the recruitment plan.

Question No. 66 answered with Question No. 45.