THE public sector hiring freeze is officially over.
Government departments will be free to manage their own staffing levels from next year, provided they stay within their pay budgets, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said.
Some 1,700 new teaching staff and 200 gardai will be recruited in 2015, but posts across a number of public bodies can also be filled - if required.
Mr Howlin said that overall public service staff numbers had fallen by 10pc since 2008, and that there would be no further job losses sought.
Government departments were forbidden in recent years from filling posts, often in key positions, without sanction from the minister.
His announcement comes as the Government prepares to review salary cuts across the sector over the coming months, which were agreed with trade unions to help achieve savings.
"The cost savings delivered through the Government's reform programme are being used to support priority services, as I have already set out," Mr Howlin said.
"Public service staff numbers have been reduced by 10pc since 2008. I am pleased to announce that there will be no further overall reductions.
"An important part of the reform agenda is greater autonomy for departments and agencies to manage their own staffing levels. From next year, I am pleased to announce that departments will have discretion over staffing levels within an overall pay framework."
There would be a resumption of recruitment into the civil service from 2015, while the Government also plans to launch a new plan for renewing the civil service.
"We need to provide opportunities for people to enter employment in our public services," Mr Howlin said.
"This marks the end of the moratorium on recruitment, but in a targeted and focused way."