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296 garda retirements in 2013 and 100 station closures

Latest garda figures show total strength of force, including reserves and civilian support, was 16,328 at the end of 2013.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

ALMOST 300 GARDAÍ retired from the force last year, of which 279 were voluntary retirements, 11 compulsory and six came under the gardaí’s cost neutral early retirement scheme.

The latest figures for garda staff levels show that by the end of last year, the garda force was 13,093 strong, including 1,860 sergeants and 270 inspectors.

The total strength – including garda reserves (1,164) and civilian support staff (2,071) – was 16,328.

Forty-four gardaí availed of the garda career break scheme last year, a 10% increase on 2012. Under the scheme, gardaí can take unpaid leave for between six months and five years for family, educational or other personal reasons.

The Garda Annual Report for 2013 shows a jump in gardaí taking parental leave last year, from 174 in 2012 to 214. Meanwhile, 413 gardaí took paid maternity leave and 117 unpaid maternity leave.

Last year, 100 garda stations were closed and 28 districts amalgamated, bringing the total station closures and amalgamations to date to 139 and 32 respectively.

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The first garda recruitment in five years got underway late last year and 100 candidates are due to start their two-year training programme in September. The Public Appointments Service received over 20,000 applications for the 100 spaces.

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