Now 35 gardai retire in first weeks of 2011
HUGE numbers of garda retirements are continuing with 35 gardai notifying garda headquarters in the first two weeks of 2011 that they plan to retire.
This compares to an average of one a day retiring last year.
The Department of Justice revealed that there were 362 retirements in 2010.
They have also revealed how they have received notification of 35 further retirements in the first two weeks of this year, 12 of which were voluntary.
A chief superintendent and three superintendents are among those leaving the force.
Under the Four-Year Plan announced in December's Budget, garda numbers are to be cut by 1,500 -- over 10pc of the force.
The cuts, which will be achieved through retirements and natural wastage, will reduce garda numbers to 13,000.
The plan also states there will be €25m savings from management efficiencies and €140m in overtime, allowances and transport costs.
The president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) has heavily criticised the decision to downsize the force.
"Garda numbers are vital to stem rising crime, the proposed further reduction is erroneous and a false economy," said GRA president Damien McCarthy.
"It is accepted worldwide that crime increases during a recession or when police numbers and morale are reduced. All these conditions are prevalent."
He said the cuts followed announcements by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern last June of 100 new garda recruits which, he said, failed to materialise.
"We have been eagerly awaiting the 100 new recruits promised and to find that our numbers are to be further reduced is shocking and gravely disappointing.
"Gardai are struggling to cope with the increased workload with fewer staff, and we fear the service we provide the public will suffer.
"How can we do our job with 13,000 gardai when only a few years ago the Government told the country we needed 16,000?"
Joe Dirwan, the general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, also criticised the move.