Written Answers - Garda Strength.

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 592 No. 4

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  428.  Mr. J. O’Keeffe  Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell   further to Question No. 196 of 30 September 2004 of the 496 posts approved for civilianisation in 2001 the number of those positions that have been civilianised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29157/04]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  There are currently some 1,026 clerical, administrative and services posts filled by civilians in the Garda Síochána.

In 2001, the Government approved an extensive programme of civilianisation to be introduced on a phased basis over several years. That includes the posts referred to by the Deputy. The programme provided for the civilianisation of those posts in the short, medium and long term, the transfer of the finance function from Garda district clerks to civilian staff, and the transfer of [1229]civilian staff from my Department to the Garda Síochána as civil servants of the State.

The transfer of civilian staff of my Department to the Garda Síochána is provided for in the Garda Síochána Bill 2004, which is currently before the Oireachtas, while the transfer of the finance function is now almost complete. However, as regards the next phase of the civilianisation programme, including the civilianisation of the posts referred to by the Deputy, those will have to be rolled out within the confines of the Government decision of 4 December 2002, which placed a cap on numbers across the civil and public service. My Department is currently reviewing the position with both the Department of Finance and Garda management as to how we will proceed further with Garda civilianisation in the context of the overall constraints on civil and public service numbers.

On a general note, the Deputy will be aware that the Government has approved my proposal to increase the strength of the Garda Síochána to 14,000 members on a phased basis in line with the programme for Government commitment in this regard. I want to assure the House again that the additional gardaí will not be put on administrative duties and will deal directly with front-line, operational high-visibility policing.


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