More than 1,000 gardaí have taken leave from the force this year
More than 1,000 gardaí have taken leave from the force so far this year other than their normal holiday entitlements.
The figure is more than double the amount of officers who availed of such schemes in 2011. It means one in 12 members of the force availed of one leave scheme or another in the first 10 months of the year.
The figures were disclosed in an Oireachtas research document prepared for Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly.
He has proposed that recently retired members of the force be deputised to fill in.
"Garda numbers is a serious issue and we need to be able to plug the gaps as criminals are running riot. One way of doing this is to have a panel of substitutes to replace those out on a leave of absence," he said.
The figures showed 321 gardaí went on paid maternity leave this year, with 122 more opting for an extra unpaid period. Some 312 gardaí took parental leave, five took carer's leave and 13 took a career break. A further 106 availed of an incentivised career break scheme. A shorter working year scheme was availed of by 85 gardaí, while a further 86 officers entered work sharing arrangements.