No gardai recruitment for 18 months
Justice Minister Alan Shatter has admitted there could be no new gardai patrolling the streets for three-and-a-half years.
Mr Shatter said he regrets the suspension of garda recruitment, but plans to lift the moratorium and resume rehiring in the next 18 months.
The new intake would then undergo two years training with An Garda Siochana. The minister spoke as the latest 126 gardai graduated at a ceremony at the Garda College in Templemore.
"It is true that there is a temporary pause in the recruitment of Garda trainees," he said.
"I regret that and I want to see that pause limited to as short a period as possible. I recognise the value of the energy and vitality brought into the force by each new intake of recruits.
"But the financial and economic legacy left to this Government, and left to the country, leave no choice."
Mr Shatter said as part of the agreement entered into by the last Government with the EU and the IMF sharp reductions must be made in public expenditure and numbers employed in the public service.
"The reality is that, as part of the commitments they made, the last Government undertook to reduce Garda numbers to 13,500 by the end of this year, and to 13,000 by the end of 2014," he continued.
"A further complication is that the rate of this reduction is almost entirely dependent on the numbers of Garda members voluntarily retiring, and that is another factor that will have to be taken into account."
The minister also insisted Templemore would not close down and commended staff who would continue to offer a variety of courses to gardai.