FUNDING for the recruitment of 620 gardaí, along with 500 new civilian staff, is provided in the budget for 2021.
A budget of €3 million has been set aside for the recruitments, aimed at freeing up more gardaí for the frontline policing.
It comes as a new divisional policing model is being phased in for Cork county, which will see an amalgamation of the Cork West and Cork North garda divisions. The amalgamation is also aimed at freeing up more gardaí for frontline policing.
“Extra staff that sees gardaí freed of bureaucratic duties and on our streets will be welcome but we must see it in action swiftly,” Former Labour justice spokesman, Deputy Seán Sherlock, said.
“High level visibility on the streets of our towns in Cork and in Cork city is vital In stemming any growing confidence by criminal gangs.”
The plan is for there to be 14,700 fully trained gardaí along with 300 recruits in training, by December 2021.
It is also planned to increase the number of sergeants and inspectors.
“More garda recruits and more garda staff means extra members of the service on the frontline and in specialist battling units organised crime groups and keeping people safe,” Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, said.
“The Government is following through on our commitment in the Programme for Government to continue to train new recruits annually and to remove gardaí from administrative duties to allow them to focus on policing.”
Seventy new vehicles are to be introduced to the garda fleet, to help replace cars which were hired during the Covid-19 crisis.
An additional €22 million has been earmarked for information and communications technology for An Garda Síochána.
Minister McEntee said: “For garda, time saved on dealing with paperwork in the station means more time on patrol and on the frontline. So this wants to help the Government implement the reforms outlined in ‘A Policing Service for the Future’, which followed on from the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.”
Seven million euro is also identified to provide additional mobile devices and related licensing and maintenance costs under the Garda Mobility Project.
In announcing the allocations for the Justice sector, including gardaí, Minister McEntee, said: “We are unfortunately still dealing with the impact of the worldwide pandemic and Covid-19 is therefore central to budget 2021. We must continue to properly fund our frontline services in the Justice Sector as they serve the public throughout the pandemic. Our frontline workers must feel safe themselves while they work to keep us safe.”
And €13 million has been set aside for personal protective equipment for gardaí, while €5.7 million has been allocated for such equipment for the Irish Prison Service.
So as part of the Covid-19 measures, €5.7 million is directed to the Courts Service, with provision for additional premises in Dublin and regional locations to enable court sittings to take place in a socially distanced and safe environment.
Funding was also announced for an inquest into the Stardust niteclub fire in Dublin in 1981, which resulted in the deaths of 48 people.