Dáil Éireann - Volume 607 - 11 October, 2005

Written Answers. - Garda Strength.

  368. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if there are plans to increase the retirement age for members of the Garda Síochána from 57 to 60 years in view of the current shortage of gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27812/05]

  Mr. McDowell: I currently have no plans to increase the retirement age for members of the Garda Síochána who were recruited to the force prior to 1 April 2004.

The changes in the retirement age for members of the Garda Síochána outlined in the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 will apply only to new entrants recruited to the Garda Síochána after 1 April 2004.

Regarding Garda resources generally, the strength of the Garda Síochána is being increased to 14,000 members on a phased basis, in line with the agreed programme for Government commitment in that regard. This is a key commitment in the programme for Government, and its imple[675] mentation will significantly strengthen the operational capacity of the force.

To reach this record force strength a campaign was launched in November last year to recruit 1,100 Garda recruits each year from 2005 to 2007, inclusive. I might add that this accelerated recruitment campaign is fully on target and will lead to a combined strength, of both attested gardaí and recruits in training, of 14,000 by the end of 2006.

  369. Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to a proposed research project into the causes of death among the Garda Síochána; if funding will be provided for the amount of €25,000 requested on the basis that a similar research project regarding members of the Defence Forces was fully funded by the Department of Defence. [27857/05]

  Mr. McDowell: I am aware of a research project proposal of the type described by the Deputy. I understand that the proposers of the project have been in consultation with Garda management on the matter. I have asked the Garda Commissioner for details of the outcome of his considerations. I will communicate further with the Deputy in due course.