Irish government cuts will force the police force to lose 1,000 officers this year due to slashes in its payroll budget.
The Irish Independent reports that the government has cut the police payroll by more than $32 million. While the current number of garda is 13,417, the Department of Justice only has enough to pay 12,500 personnel.
As it is expected that fewer than 500 officers will leave the force this year "through natural wastage," another 500 will need to be cut from the payroll
Plans to reduce Garda numbers include offering police officers the option of a three-year career break since senior officials do not believe they will be able to have enough retirements this year. Officers will be enticed to take a career break with a lump-sum offer of $39,000, which is taxable, and a guarantee that the job will available after the three years.
They will also have the option to take up other employment in Ireland or in oversees markets such as Australia and Canada.
Around 1,000 police are eligible to retire this year but it is unlikely that even half of them will retire early.
The Department of Justice told the Irish Independent that "as the moratorium on recruitment continues for the time being", allowance was made in the garda payroll provision for "reduced headcount" through retirements.
Under the national recovery plan, the size of the force is to be reduced to 13,000 – down from its 14,500 headcount at the start of 2011.
Meanwhile, talks continue between the police force and the departments of Public Expenditure, Justice and Social Protection.