Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said additional Garda funding of €50m would continue to assist the fight against crime in cities and rural Ireland.
She was speaking at a passing out parade of 147 gardaí at Templemore College. The funding is in addition to a €5m boost announced in February.
“This money will help gardaí continue their work against crime, against gangland crime in particular, and ensure they can continue the Thor initiative — the very intensive campaign against burglaries — and to other measures which the gardaí need in terms of the international situation at the moment,” she said.
“This is about supporting An Garda Síochána to do the work the country wants them to do and made sure they have the resources in place.
“We are also discussing accelerated recruitment here in Templemore.”
Ms Fitzgerald said 200-300 retirements from the force are being planned for this year.
“We will have 600 (new gardaí) already agreed who will graduate from Templemore this year. I would expect there will be accelerated recruitment towards the end of this year of 200 more gardaí and we will continue that next year,” she said.
“I am in discussions with the Garda authorities here to see precisely how we can accelerate recruitment to get to 15,000.
“So, for example, if we took 1,000 trainees in here every year for the next number of years. by the end of 2019 we would have reached 15,000.
“So the precise numbers for next year will be a budgetary matter and for discussion at government level. But I am very pleased today we have an extra €55m for gardaí specifically.”
Ms Fitzgerald said the entire Government supports providing gardaí with the necessary resources for the job the country wants them to do.
She said the Policing Authority was best placed to oversee the effect of the reopening of six of the 112 Garda stations closed throughout the country.
Crime trends, she said, have to be kept under review — and this needs money. “The gardaí are spending money on overtime,” said Ms Fitzgerald.
“The Government has made it clear over recent months they should do that because they need to do that in response to the criminal activity we have seen, which is unprecedented in its audacity in north inner (Dublin) city. We have to continually examine resources.”
Cheers for ‘Garda’ Ceejay at ceremony
A young ‘garda’ got huge cheers at a passing out in Templemore College for his bravery.
Ceejay McArdle, who will be four next week, got a special Garda certificate from Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.
Dressed in his designer Garda uniform and hat, Ceejay, when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up replied: “I am a garda”.
Ceejay, who is undergoing treatment for leukaemia, came to Templemore with his mum, Susan Brown and dad, Marcus McAardle.
Susan said: “It’s been a long journey from Castleblayney so he his a bit tired. He has been so excited about taking part in today’s ceremony.”
When the new gardaí flung their hats in the air, Ceejay joined in the customary ritual at the end of the graduation ceremony.
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