Tipperary Division allocated 16 new Gardaí but 20 due to retire – McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald that 16 newly attested members of An Garda Siochana have been assigned to the Tipperary Garda Division. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the information was released to him following a Parliamentary Question to the Minister concerning proposed allocations as well as the number of gardaí that are due to retire in the Tipperary Division:

“While it is certainly welcome news that we are going to be receiving 16 new members I am still deeply concerned at the news that 20 serving members are eligible to retire in 2016.

This takes the good out of it somewhat in the sense that if all eligible members decide to avail of the retirement option then we will certainly be in a worse situation numbers wise.

This is an issue that I have raised with the Minister several times during the course of the Government formation talks. There can be no doubt that she was left unaware of the gravity of the situation in Tipperary.

In light of that it has also been confirmed to me that taking account of the projected retirements for this year and the numbers of new recruits who will attest, Garda numbers are expected to reach the 13,000 mark by the end of this year.

I can only hope that the Minister will make good on these numbers given the fact that rural crime continues to persist at frightening levels, particularly the levels of burglaries.

In the South East Garda Division alone there were 6495 instances of burglary and related offences in the first quarter of 2014 to the 31st December 2015 with 1154 of these in the Tipperary Garda Division.

These statistics demonstrate the absolute priority which must be given to escalating the allocation of new gardaí to counties like Tipperary which have been under-resourced for several years now,” concluded Deputy McGrath.
QUESTION NO:  73

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald)
by Deputy Mattie McGrath
for WRITTEN on Thursday, 7th July, 2016.  

 
 *  To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of full-time Gardaí in the Garda Síochána’s Tipperary Division; the number due to retire in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Mattie McGrath 
REPLY.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and Districts, and I as Minister have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keep 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 have been informed that there are 351 Gardai assigned to the Tipperary Garda Division. The distribution of Gardaí throughout the Division on the 31 May 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, is set out in the table below.  I have requested the Commissioner to indicate if any of these members are work sharing and I will write to the Deputy when this information is to hand.

I have also been informed that there are 20 members of An Garda Síochána eligible to retire in the Tipperary Division in 2016 as at 5 July. It is important to note that the number of Gardaí eligible for retirement is not an indicator of the number of Gardaí who will actually retire in a particular year.  Members of An Garda Síochána who joined the organisation prior to 1 April 2004 may retire on full pension once they have served for at least 30 years and they have reached 50 years of age.  Members of An Garda Síochána who joined the organisation on or after 1 April 2004 may retire on full pension once they have served at least 30 years and have reached 55 years of age.  All Gardaí must retire when they reach 60 years of age.

As the Deputy will be aware, when the financial crisis hit, the Government of the time introduced a moratorium on recruitment and the four year National Recovery Plan, published in 2010, envisaged a steady reduction in Garda numbers. Thankfully, in a recovering economy, we were able to reopen the Garda College in September 2014, and a total of 851 Garda trainees have been recruited with a further 300 planned to be recruited during the remainder of this year. So far 534 of the new Garda trainees have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream uniform duties nationwide with another 150 more planned to attest in November.  Of these, 16 newly attested members have been assigned to the Tipperary Garda Division.

I can assure the Deputy that projected departures from An Garda Síochána are kept under continuing review and the level of recruitment adjusted as necessary in order to achieve the desired strength of An Garda Síochána. I am advised, based on a thorough analysis of the data, that the Garda authorities project retirements overall this year to be around the 300 mark with similar projections for the coming years.  Taking account of the projected retirements for this year and the number of new recruits who will attest I expect Garda numbers to reach the 13,000 mark by the end of this year. We must, I believe, endeavour to make more rapid progress than this to reach our target of 15,000 and I am engaging with my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, in relation to increasing the planned annual intake this year and in coming years.  

 

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