Tom Brady writes in today’s Irish Independent
15th October 2014
The measure was revealed in what was described by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald as a breakthrough for the justice sector.
An intake of 100 recruits will arrive at the college next month with a similar number marching through the gates in January.
These are in addition to the first batch of 100, who joined up last month to begin their two-year training programme.
The minister promised she would continue to monitor garda numbers during 2015 with a view to agreeing further intakes, if required.
The current strength of the force stands at 12,900, below the “red line” figure of 13,000 but the Budget has finally loosened the purse strings for spending on the Garda force and eventually filling posts in key areas.
VIDEO: Public reaction to today’s Budget announcement
The additional recruits will be funded from a €40m increase in the budget for the gardai, reflecting a 5pc increase in the Garda payroll. Ms Fitzgerald said the funding substantially addressed the underlying payroll shortfall of the Gardai, which has led to supplementary Dail budgets in the past.
The allocations to Justice provide €2.156bn for current spending and almost €107m for capital spending.
A rise of 68pc in capital spending includes €10m for 400 new garda vehicles, which will rolled out in early 2015.
A further €42m has been set aside for new divisional headquarters at Kevin Street in Dublin south central, Galway city and Wexford town and these will be constructed over the next three years.
Another €27m is allocated to complete the new jail in Cork and refurbish the D wing in Mountjoy prison while €4m will be spent on upgrading information systems.
The money will also fund the reforms planned for the Garda and the Justice sector including €500,000 to help set up the Policing Authority, €1m to strengthen the capacity of the Garda Ombudsman Commission and an extra €250,000 for the Garda Inspectorate.
The Courts Service is being given an extra €2m in current expenditure funding and it retains a once-off allocation of €2m from this year.
And the recently established Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is being given its own budget with an allocated €6.3m, reaffirming its independence, in line with United Nations rules governing human rights institutions.
The minister said the increased investment in the Garda would help ensure a strong policing presence.