Wednesday 20 September 2017

Public services: Ambitious plan to increase garda force to 15,000

The latest figures show that garda numbers currently stand at just below 12,800
The latest figures show that garda numbers currently stand at just below 12,800

Niall O'Connor and Cathal McMahon

Fine Gael has agreed to increase garda numbers to 15,000 in what will be seen as one of the most significant elements of the deal struck with Fianna Fáil.

But this pledge will require a massive acceleration in recruitment if it is to be realised.

The latest figures show that garda numbers currently stand at just below 12,800.

And garda sources last night warned that the proposal is "welcome but may be difficult to attain".

One source told the Irish Independent 1,500 officers are qualified to retire by the end of the year and 800 of these have to retire under current rules.

The pledge to significantly increase garda numbers was a core demand of Fianna Fáil's during the recent negotiations.

In the justice section in the document, the two parties state there will also be investment in CCTV, a particular sticking point in rural Ireland.

It also stated the Policing Authority will be mandated to oversee a review of the boundaries of garda districts and the disbursement of stations.

It is understood Fine Gael, during negotiations with Independents, pledged to examine the issue of teachers' pay.

The document also promises to "reduce primary school class sizes; reintroduce guidance counselling to secondary schools and increase financial supports for post-graduate students with a particular focus on those from low-income households."

In the chronically underfunded health sector, it says it will base expenditure on multi-year budgeting, supported by a five-year HSE Service Plan "based on realistic, verifiable projections".

It promises to maintain a "humane approach" for discretionary medical card provision.

It pledges to increase investment in transport, broadband, and flood defences following the mid-term review of the Capital Plan, expected mid-2017.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News