Gardaí start recruitment drive for people from minority backgrounds

ireland
Gardaí Start Recruitment Drive For People From Minority Backgrounds Gardaí Start Recruitment Drive For People From Minority Backgrounds
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, © PA Archive/PA Images
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Digital Desk Staff

The Government and Garda are making a specific appeal to African-Irish people and members of the Traveller community to join the Garda, and the language requirements are being changed to ensure proficiency in Irish is no longer an advantage.

As the Irish Times reports. Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris formally launched the recruitment campaign for 2022 on Thursday, when 800 sworn Garda members and 400 civilian staff will be hired.

They are making a direct appeal to members of minority communities and urge them to consider a career in policing.

The Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, which reported in 2018 and set out reforms required in the Garda, said the force must become more diverse.

This week the Policing Authority said Travellers, “young people of colour” and other minorities were much less satisfied with policing during the pandemic than other sectors of society.

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Ms McEntee said she wanted “everyone in our society, such as our African-Irish and Traveller communities, to see members of their own communities” working as gardaí and in other posts in the force.

“I urge people from these communities to seriously think over Christmas about applying in the new year,” she said.

Language requirements

“I have discussed this with the commissioner, and I am very pleased that a vigorous campaign will be launched by An Garda Síochána to encourage as many people as possible to apply.”

Ms McEntee also said she wanted to see more women applying for jobs in the Garda.

The decision to change the language requirements for recruits was approved at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, though it went unannounced.

Until now those joining the Garda had to be proficient in two languages, one of which had to be Irish or English. However, under the new changes proficiency in only one language will be required.

The Department of Justice said the change would “remove any potential disadvantage for people not born in Ireland who do not have any experience with the Irish language”.

It added the requirement to speak two languages was acting “as a barrier to more diverse recruitment”.

Furthermore, a new Irish language strategy would be launched early next year “to strengthen Irish language services” within the Garda and “ensure compliance with statutory language obligations”.

Speaking today, Garda Commissiner Drew Harris said: "An Garda Síochána welcomes the Government’s decision this week and is looking forward to welcoming 800 new Garda recruits to the organisation in 2022, particularly in our centenary year.

"Not only will these new Gardaí further strengthen front-line policing, but it provides us with a great opportunity to become a more diverse organisation.

"Being more reflective of the society we serve will enhance our ability to provide an effective police service for all people. While we have one of the highest levels of female police officers in Europe, we fully recognise that this is not replicated when it comes to minority communities."

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