MORE than 20,000 applications are expected for the first batch of 100 new jobs in the garda force.
Up to 300 recruits are likely to be taken in for training in 2014 with the initial group joining the Garda College in Templemore on July 1.
Making the official announcement of the first recruitment campaign since 2009, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that within hours of the jobs being advertised on-line there had been a thousand applications by 9am.
More than 32,000 expressions of interest had been lodged in the garda jobs over the past few months.
The recruitment process is being handled by the Public Appointments Service with a deadline for applications of January 9.
Mr Shatter said the initial two tests would be carried out online and this opened up the opportunity for potential candidates living overseas to get through the first round.
He expected the 2014 intakes to be between 250 and 300 but it could be more, depending on how the process was "tweaked".
He said the objective was to keep the overall strength of the force at 13,000 and if it fell below that number by July or August it would only be for a short time.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the fall-off in numbers over the past few years did not mean that the force had been struggling and the successes that had been achieved were testament to that.
He said he was delighted with the announcement and that the Government had seen fit to hold the line at the targeted figure of 13,000.
The organisation would strive to meet its commitment to recruit Irish speakers and he encouraged those who were fluent speakers to apply.
Mr Callinan said it was a natural assumption to make that garda reservists had a certain advantage as they had received their initial training in the college and had worked with colleagues in the force.
He believed an interview board would take that into account.
Mr Shatter said a new training course had been developed that would better prepare garda members for the reality of life on the streets.
It would also mean that after an initial 32-week phase in Templemore, the recruits would be assigned to garda stations and could operate with full policing powers while undergoing 72 weeks' on-the-job training.
At the end of their two-year training programme, the garda graduates would be presented with a BA in applied policing.