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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 19 January 2021

€35m Garda payroll cut to significantly impact force numbers

As many as 1,400 serving Gardaí may have to be be cut in response to budget cuts.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE DEPARTMENT OF Justice has said it is not possible to “accurately predict” the level of reduction in Garda numbers this year following a decision to make a €35 million cut to the Garda payroll provision.

The Department confirmed that, at the end of December 2012, there were just over 13,400 members of An Garda Síochána. The payroll cuts will require a reduction in Garda numbers in 2013 but the Department said the exact number is as yet unknown as it will “depend on the number of voluntary retirements”.

While the number of voluntary retirements tends to vary on a yearly basis, the Department said the average annual number of retirements has been approximately 400 in recent years.

“There has been a reduction in the payroll provision limit on last year. In setting the provision for this year, account was of course taken of the fact that there are approximately 460 fewer Garda members then at this time last year and therefore the pay bill will be correspondingly lower,” the Department said in a statement released today.

Garda management has warned that the cuts would significantly damage the force’s ability to perform – and that up to 1,400 serving Gardaí would have to be be cut in response to the move, bringing the workforce number to just 12,000. Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who previously stated he would not like to see numbers fall below 13,000, is considering a range of possible measures to deal with the budget cut, including offering voluntary retirement and career breaks.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme today, President of the Garda Representative Association John Parker said the cuts would have a “demoralising effect on rank and file officers”.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice Alan Shatter said the Gardaí will be prepared for every eventuality this Saturday, when a demonstration will be held in Dublin city centre by those protesting against a decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag over Belfast City Hall.

Read: Shatter insists threats by terrorist groups are ‘completely unacceptable’

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