The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has announced that the recruitment of new gardaí will be delayed following the rejection of the Croke Park II.

Minister Shatter told the Association of Garda Superintendents that he had intended to bring proposals to cabinet to begin recruiting new gardaí.

The Minister said this evening his proposals will now obviously have to be delayed until the Government has reflected on how to progress matters following the rejection of Croke Park II.

The Garda Commissioner has already said he does not want to see the numbers in the force drop below 13,000.

Earlier, The Association of Garda Superintendents called for the embargo on garda recruitment to be lifted.

The association, which represents senior garda officers, says the strength of the force is at a critically low level.

It said there are also more than 20 vacancies for superintendents all over the country that need to be filled.

The association is holding its annual conference in Naas in Co Kildare.

The General Secretary of the association says more gardaí must be recruited.

The association says that this is needed to sustain the current stability level of 13,000 in the force.

The commissioner says 13,000 is the minimum needed to operate a police service in Ireland.

Superintendent Pat McCabe said the public are concerned by the closure of garda stations.

He said that they are trying to convince people that the loss of a garda station does not mean the loss of a policing service.

On the issue of the Croke Park Agreement, the association is calling for fair treatment and open dialogue in any future arrangements on pay and conditions.

The association said it was not briefed on the previous proposed cuts that have now been rejected by unions.