Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said he is unable to say when garda recruitment will recommence.

The minister told the Oireachtas Justice Committee that more gardaí retired this year than was expected.

He said it was expected that 375 retirement lump sum gratuity payments would have to be paid out, but it was more likely that 470 gardaí would leave the force this year.

Mr Shatter also said that the EU/IMF target of reducing the numbers in the force to 13,000 by the end of this year would not be met.

There are 13,440 members of the force at present.

Separately, the minister said that 2,500 people had been arrested so far as part of the Garda Operation Fiacla.

The operation was set up to target mobile criminal gangs involved in burglary and serious crime all over the country, and that 1,400 of those arrested had been brought before the courts.

Mr Shatter said court fees this year were now estimated at €43.5m, a shortfall of around €5m.