Garda recruitment drive
More than 100 trainee gardai could be taken on at the end of the year in the first wave of new recruits since the public sector jobs moratorium, it was revealed today.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said an ad campaign would run over the next few weeks to attract people to register interest in joining the force.
It is hoped a new batch of trainees could start at the Garda College in Templemore towards the end of the year.
"Maintaining Garda operational strength is my absolute priority, and I am very pleased that we are making the necessary preparations now so that this can be achieved," Mr Ahern said.
About 900 gardai retired from the force last year and this year retirements are running at about a quarter of that.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan gave the go-ahead for the new recruitment drive and Mr Ahern said it would ensure Garda numbers are kept at the optimum 14,500.
Officials in the Department of Justice believe new panels of people interested in joining the force need to be in position to join a class of more than 100 trainees at the end of the year.
"I indicated recently that a new Garda recruitment campaign would be needed this year," Mr Ahern added.
The minister, who is in Luxembourg at a meeting of the EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council, said the Public Appointments Service would run the campaign on the publicjobs.ie website.
"This campaign will establish a panel of approved candidates who will be available for ongoing recruitment into the Garda College as trainees," Mr Ahern said.
"Trainees will subsequently be taken into the college as needed so that Garda strength is maintained at the approved level."
The final class of recruits, 267 gardai, left Templemore at the end of April.
The public sector jobs moratorium was introduced in March last year but senior garda positions have been filled over the last year as retirements hit.