EFFORTS by Deputy Cathal Crowe to obtain the current deficit in Clare Garda numbers following a dramatic decline in national recruitment proved unsuccessful at a joint Policing Committee meeting on Monday.
Commenting on Budget 2023, Deputy Crowe recalled funding was provided for 1,000 new Garda recruits and 400 new civilian recruits.
Shortly after this announcement, the Fianna Fáil Deputy said he was contacted by a number of Gardai who stressed that more analysis was required to examine these figures to ascertain the figures for retirement, those on illness benefit and to take into account there are 110 members who are currently suspended on full pay at home when they could be back on the streets once an investigation is concluded.
Deputy Crowe asked Clare Gardai for a breakdown of retirements, resignations, suspensions and new recruitment as well as how this has impacted on overall Garda numbers in the county in recent years.
Superintendent John Galvin confirmed he would not comment on the number of suspensions in the Garda Siochána as this is an internal garda matter and any public comment would be contrary to policy.
Commenting on retirements, resignations and recruitment in a general way, Superintendent Galvin said the current workforce was short of 14,000.
He acknowledged garda recruitment has slowed down considerably in recent years due to Covid-19, the lack of movement in society and the public service.
“In the intervening period, retirements have continued. If you do the maths, there is a deficit. I am not going to go into the specific local figures, but this is having an impact in An Garda Siochána and its front line service throughout the country.
“That is not exclusive to Clare, we are no better or worse than anywhere else. We have to manage with the resources we have and hopefully the gates of Templemore Training College will be open and new recruits will start passing out again to bring our numbers up.
“We do need to get them through the gates and we are eager to get them on the streets and into our units to deal with communities on the front line,” he said.
Deputy Crowe asked what extra garda personnel would be required in Clare to bring it up to its optimum figure to address any deficiencies.
Superintendent Galvin acknowledged that specialised units such as the Drugs’ Unit do take gardai from the front line, which has resulted in deficiencies that he wasn’t in a position to outline.
“I don’t think this would be fair to the community, my colleagues nationally in other garda stations because we could have each division pitching Clare wants this much and we will want more. I don’t think that is positive for anyone.”
Speaking to The Clare Champion, Deputy Crowe said it makes it much harder for him to lobby for extra Garda resources for Clare when he can’t quantify it and it has not been quantified for him.