Recruitment is to resume in the civil service next year, according to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
As part of his Budget 2015 speech, Mr Howlin told the Dáil that in addition to extra teachers and gardaí, there would also be a resumption of recruitment in other areas of the State in 2015.
"This marks the end of the moratorium on recruitment but in a targeted and focused way," he said.
Mr Howlin said civil service staff numbers had been cut by 10% since 2008 and he announced that there would be no further overall reductions.
The minister added that as part of public sector reforms, there would be greater autonomy for departments and agencies to manage their own staffing levels.
"From next year I am pleased to announce that departments will have discretion over staffing levels within an overall pay framework," Mr Howlin added.