Minister says Garda recruitment delayed by Croke Park deal rejection
Shatter says rejection of deal means he cannot go ahead with plans to recommence Garda recruitment
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the rejection of the Croke Park II deal meant he could not progress his plans to recommence Garda recruitment.
He had said a number of times in recent months that he intended to bring plans to Cabinet to recommence recruitment to ensure numbers did not fall below 13,000.
However, he told the annual conference of the Association of Garda Superintendents in Co Kildare today that without the savings of €300 million that would have been secured under a new Croke Park agreement, he could not expect Cabinet to sanction the funds needed to expand the force.
The issue of recruitment could be revisited when the savings shortfall was addressed, he said.
“There is an expenditure commitment involved with recruitment. I remain committed to it, I am very anxious to ensure that we do retain 13,000 in An Garda Síochána but also I have to ensure that we deal with it in a manner that’s financially feasible.”
He denied his change in stance amounted to a broken promise on Garda numbers that would annoy members of the force and the public.
“We are now in a different position. We are now in a position where the Government quite clearly has to reflect on the outcome of the vote that has taken place.”
Garda numbers reached in excess of 14,600 just after the economy collapsed. However, under the terms of the bailout, the troika stipulated that numbers must be reduced to at least 13,000 by the end of 2012. While that target was missed, numbers are now down to around 13,400 as members retire and no new recruits are hired.
It will take over a year from the time Garda posts are advertised until the new recruits have been trained and are taking up duty.
Because of this time factor, the Government must begin recruitment immediately if numbers are to be maintained at 13,000.