Garda numbers could dip below 13,000 - Shatter
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has suggested the number of gardaí may fall below 13,000 and could not say when recruitment might begin again.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan last week said he did not want to see the strength of the force dip below 13,000 members. New figures on Garda retirements in 2012 released by Mr Shatter reveal 470 departures, far higher than the anticipated level of about 375.
However, with 13,440 members still in An Garda Síochána, the EU-IMF bailout target of a reduced 13,000-strong Garda force by the end of 2012 will be missed. Based on current rates of retirement, that target will not be met for almost a year.
Garda sources believe many considering retiring early did so before February, the cut-off date for public servants to retire and retain their enhanced pensions. They expect retirements to slow in the year ahead, meaning the troika’s target would not be met until into 2014.
Mr Shatter yesterday told the Select Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence the force was to reduce to “at least” 13,000. He did not rule out numbers falling below that.
Niall Collins TD (FF) told the committee there was a two-year period from the time a Garda recruit entered and graduated, while 1,200 members had 30 years served and could retire at any time.
The force could be reduced to “dangerously low” levels, he warned.