The Government has approved appointments to 33 top garda positions to fill gaps left by retirements.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said approval was given at today's Cabinet meeting to the appointment of two Assistant Commissioners, eight Chief Superintendents and 23 Superintendents.

The resulting vacancies at Inspector and Sergeant level will also be filled.

However, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors says the move will not begin to address the total of 200 vacancies expected by the end of February.

The Minister for Justice told the Dáil that further vacancies would be created as more senior gardaí retire before 29 February.

The minister said that those vacancies would be the subject of further discussions with the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Brendan Howlin and that "appropriate decisions" will be made in relation to these vacancies.

Mr Shatter said that in total about 300 gardaí will retire this year.

He said that garda station closures were part of the push to use resources more efficiently and that it is probable there will be further garda station closures in the coming years.

Earlier, Mr Shatter said that garda strength at the end of February is expected to be 13,551, compared with 13,755 at the end of 2007.

Garda promotions:

  • Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips will take charge of the Eastern Region
  • Assistant Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin will take charge of the Southern Region
  • Chief Superintendent Francis Clerkin - D.M.R. Northern Division
  • Chief Superintendent Orla McPartlin - Internal Affairs
  • Chief Superintendent Jeremiah O’Sullivan - DMR Eastern Division
  • Chief Superintendent Michael O’Sullivan - Galway Division
  • Chief Superintendent William Dillane - Cork North Division
  • Chief Superintendent Patrick Clavin - Change Management
  • Chief Superintendent Mark Curran - Westmeath Division
  • Chief Superintendent Michael Clancy - Sligo Division

Details of promotions to the Rank of Superintendent will be published tomorrow.