Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has told the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors that 250 new gardaí will be recruited over the next six months.

The move has been welcomed by the AGSI, who said it will come some way towards alleviating the chronic shortage of people available for frontline policing.

It is understood the recruits will enrol in the Garda College in Templemore in two groups of 125.

The AGSI had called on the Government to stop the strength of the force falling below 13,000 and bring it to 14,000.

Currently there are 12,800 gardaí in the force, which is 200 below the red line figure of 13,000 set by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Today addressing their annual conference, the minister told delegates there would be further recruitment over the next six months.

The minister also heard calls from the AGSI to invest urgently in information technology.

President Tim Galvin said the lack of investment is hindering police work.

He said the way gardaí are expected to operate is a disgrace.

Minister Fitzgerald said she accepts the infrastructure is not good enough and changes will not happen overnight, but she said a clear plan from Government will be finalised soon and improvements will be made. 

AGSI delegates have also voted to seek more armed gardaí and better training for those who carry guns.

The conference was told yesterday that there are insufficient armed detectives to provide cover for armed incidents in the early hours of the morning.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan told the delegates that she was examining the armed capability of the force in both urban and rural areas.

Before concluding the conference the AGSI highlighted the dangers of frontline policing.

It pointed to the case of Sergeant Dave Haughney, who is stationed at Midleton Garda Station.

He suffered serious injuries in an assault on the 15 December last year, losing 75% sight in one eye.

The AGSI says it wants to highlight how suddenly and unpredictably these things can happen and the real dangers of the job.