Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Department of Justice and Equality
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, among the various Garda Divisions and Districts, and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current strength of the Traffic Corps is 668 as of the 31 August 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available. Of course road traffic legislation is also enforced as part of the day to day duties of members of An Garda Síochána.
An Garda Síochána's Roads Policing Operations Plan 2016 incorporates a programme of high visibility road safety and enforcement operations, carried out in partnership with other state agencies, and is being implemented by each Regional Traffic Superintendent. The focus of the Plan is on the most vulnerable road user categories of motor cyclists, pedal cyclists, pedestrians and learner permit holders. Garda operations specifically target road use behaviour known to contribute significantly to collisions, including speeding, driving while intoxicated, and use of a mobile phone.
The Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country. This will be achieved though continuing the ongoing accelerated Garda recruitment programme with a view to increasing Garda numbers to 15,000, as well as doubling the Garda Reserve and increasing the number of civilian staff so as to free-up Gardaí for front-line policing. Taking account of projected retirements, reaching a strength of 15,000 members will require some 3,200 new Garda members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next four years in addition to the 1,200 that will have been recruited by the end of this year since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. So far 534 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream uniform duties nationwide. The Traffic Corps, and all other Garda activities, will undoubtedly benefit from these resources now coming on stream.
In order to continue to ensure seamless ongoing recruitment I was very pleased to announce the commencement of a new recruitment campaign on 8 September. The campaign is being organised by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Commissioner. Applications must be made through www.publicjobs.ie.The existing recruitment campaign (launched last November) is ongoing and successful candidates will continue to be called from that campaign this year and into next year. It is expected that successful candidates from the new campaign will enter the Garda College from mid-2017.
This investment in personnel is complemented by investment in other resources, for example, some €46 million has been allocated under the Capital Plan for the Garda fleet to enable Gardaí to be mobile and visible and responsive.