Gardai: Gardai face cuts of 1,000 next year
GARDA numbers will be cut by 1,000 next year. The force has been ordered to make "management efficiencies" to save €20m in its budget for 2011.
And in line with the recently announced four-year plan this means numbers must be slashed over the next 12 months from 14,500 to 13,500. A further 500 personnel will be phased out over the rest of the plan.
Reductions in numbers of 770 last year and another 370 this year means the force is on target to meet the 2010 demands.
But next year all sections of the force will have no trainees in the pipeline to meet the shortfall created by natural wastage and early retirements.
Garda management are planning to make greater use of civilianisation to fill office jobs and put more gardai on to the streets to make up policing numbers in the divisions and districts.
But it is inevitable that national units -- those in the frontline of the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking -- will also be affected to some extent by the shortage of personnel.
Work is already under way, based on the Croke Park agreement, to introduce new rostering arrangements, with the aim of maximising the number of officers on duty at peak hours.
Two assistant commissioners have been appointed to review current practices and to make recommendations.
Senior officers will be challenged by a new enhanced performance management programme and asked to devise ways of making better use of the resources at their disposal.
Already, some chiefs have been tasked with doubling up in duties -- with, for example, the officer in charge of Sligo temporarily also taking over the Donegal division.
It is also hoped to streamline garda compensation procedures by introducing a new board to replace cases being brought to the High Court with a subsequent reduction in legal costs.
Fine Gael's justice spokesman Alan Shatter said drug gangs would be toasting Justice Minister Dermot Ahern's "extraordinary" failure to ensure garda numbers were fully maintained.