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Commissioner welcomes garda recruitment “as soon as possible”

Martin Callinan said that he anticipates the number of gardaí to drop below 13,000 which indicates that recruitment should begin.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE GARDA COMMISSIONER Martin Callinan has said that he would welcome garda recruitment this year as the number of members of the force begins to dwindle below an acceptable level.

At a meeting of the Oireachtas’  Committee of Public Accounts yesterday, the Comptroller and Auditor General said that gross expenditure by an Garda Síochána was €1.57 billion in 2011, with payroll and pensions accounting for 86 per cent of expenditure.

Total payroll costs were just over €1 billion euro. An extra €28 million in supplementary spending was made in connection with the State visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Obama.

Moratorium

Commissioner Callinan said the current ratio of gardaí to citizens is 1.1 – 6.5 but they remain committed to maintaining a lower ratio. However, he admitted this is affected by the recruitment moratorium.

Speaking of the moratorium, he also said that as it is expected the amount of garda staff will go below 13,000 members, he hopes that recruitment is undertaken soon.

Callinan said he was on record as saying he believes recruitment should begin if the number of gardaí drops below 13,000 members. He said that as we approach the coming months and towards the end of year, “the expectation is we will drop below 13,000 so I would very much like to see recruitment starting again and as soon as possible”

So far this year, 136 garda stations have been closed, and there are three more due to close.

Callinan said that most of the buildings are owned by the Office of Public Works, and that he has been trying to encourage the OPW to generate some interest “in some of our people actually moving into these and buying them”. “I think it would be very good for the communities,” he said.

The issue was raised with him of some members being interested in moving into buildings where accommodation is provided, but he said he doesn’t have control over the process.

Read: Callinan “has no axe to grind” with penalty points whistleblowers>

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