Early intake of Garda recruits 'an attempt to make the figures look better', union says

Early Intake Of Garda Recruits 'An Attempt To Make The Figures Look Better', Union Says
The Department of Justice said one more class is due into the Garda College on December 27th. Photo: PA
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Vivienne Clarke

A Garda union official has described the next intake of recruits into the force as “an attempt to make the figures look better.”

The deputy general secretary of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), Ronan Slevin, said the next intake group “just at the end of the year” will be “sent home” and not commence training until January.


The Minister for Justice confirmed on Wednesday that 151 new gardaí will graduate early on December 15th, with a substantial cohort deployed in Dublin from December 16th.

The Department of Justice said one more class is due into the Garda College on December 27th, meaning between 700 and 800 recruits will enter this year.

However, Mr Slevin said the target figures for 2024 did not address the overall issue of the current deficit of 1,000 gardaí.

The existing job and training allowance of €305 was still insufficient to attract anybody with a “normal” cost of living away from a career or to go into the garda training college for eight months “on such a miserable amount of an allowance.”


Apart from the difficulties in recruiting new members to the force, there was also a retention issue with between 450 and 500 members resigning or retiring every year. This was a very worrying trend, he said. Every intake the target was around 225 trainees, but barely 175 were joining the force, Mr Slevin claimed.

With regard to the promise of more equipment such as body cams, tasers and pepper spray, Mr Slevin said the GRA would give a cautious welcome “any additional equipment which would help to ensure the health and safety of our members on the frontline.

“We would like to see more public order training for all members of An Garda Síochána back to the way it used to be. So you have a basic level of understanding on how to handle riotous situations like what happened last Thursday. And we'd also like to see the roll out of tasers across more frontline units that allow members to deal with more violent situations which are happening on a more regular basis across the country and not just in Dublin.”

Mr Slevin added that the GRA was still concerned that a number of issues which had been identified had not been addressed “to ensure that our members have a safe working environment going forward.”


When asked about comments on language used by the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice to describe those involved in the riots in Dublin last Thursday, Mr Slevin said “some of this stuff is just detracting from the main issue. And that issue is that, yes, there was outrageous scenes witnessed on Thursday night.

“But the main thing we have here is the safety of members. And our focus here is to protect the public, to restore law and order, and to ensure that all our members are working in a safe environment.”

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