| 15.6°C Dublin

Garda numbers fall 10pc in past five years

Close

Garda graduates celebrate by throwing the caps in the air after graduating from the garda training college.

Garda graduates celebrate by throwing the caps in the air after graduating from the garda training college.

Garda graduates celebrate by throwing the caps in the air after graduating from the garda training college.

More than one in 10 gardai have left the force in the past five years, with garda strength in several parts of the country down more than 15pc since 2009.

There were 1,228 fewer gardai based in the country's network of garda stations in April compared to 2009, when the size of the force was at its peak.

It represents a 10pc reduction in the number of serving gardai over five years.

Monaghan has suffered the biggest loss, with the size of the force in the county now down by more than 22pc, from 222 in 2009 to 166 earlier this year.

Two other border counties, Donegal and Cavan, have also seen a significant reduction in the number of gardai serving in their divisions.

Staffing levels are now down by around 14pc in each of the neighbouring counties - however it is a trend that signals the reduced levels of criminality in the region as a result of the peace process and decline in paramilitary activity.

Kilkenny, where crime levels have been effectively static in the past few years, saw the number of gardai stationed in the county drop by 21pc at the end of last year.

However, it enjoyed an influx of 17 new members this year, so that the net reduction since 2009 is now back at 12pc.

Other counties to experience sharp reductions including Laois and Clare.

Laois, one of only two counties to record a growth in overall crime levels last year when the number of recorded offences rose by 11pc, has witnessed the number of gardaí in the county decline by almost 18pc since 2009.

In Clare, there has been a 14pc reduction in garda personnel serving in the county over the same period.

The size of the force attached to public stations in Dublin has fallen by almost 17pc over the past five years, although the capital has regular access to garda specialist units engaged in tackling major gangland crime.

Irish Independent