NEW gardai are to be recruited next year for the first time since 2008 – but Alan Shatter won't say how many.
The controversial recruitment ban on gardai is finally to be lifted, the Justice Minister confirmed.
The Cabinet has approved the move, which will see the reopening of the Garda College in Templemore.
"It is very important for an organisation like An Garda Siochana, given the demanding nature of policing, to receive a reasonably regular intake of new recruits," Mr Shatter said.
However, Fianna Fail has called for a clearer commitment from the Minister for Justice.
The party's spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins said that the minister had previously committed to lifting the recruitment ban "but he abandoned that commitment at the first possible opportunity".
"We need a clear commitment from Minister Shatter on the numbers of gardai he intends to recruit.
"As a result of his u-turn on garda recruitment this year we have lost another valuable year in the garda training process."
Mr Shatter announced the end to the recruitment freeze – brought in under wider austerity measures and cutbacks in the public sector – during a graduation ceremony at the Garda College in Templemore.
The Justice Minister would not disclose how many full-timers will be taken on.
Meanwhile, new figures show that one retired Asst Garda Commissioner received a golden handshake of over €200,000 last year.
The State paid out €41.94m in lump sums to retiring gardai of all ranks last year.