New gardaí welcomed as Commissioner voices hope to reach 15,000 target

New Gardaí Welcomed As Commissioner Voices Hope To Reach 15,000 Target
Some 165 new gardaí attended an attestation ceremony on Friday. Photo: PA Images
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By Rebecca Black, PA

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said he hopes to see officer numbers reach 15,000 as he welcomed the latest to join the force.

He was speaking at an attestation ceremony for 165 new gardaí who are ready to take on duties.


The ceremony came amid criticism of low garda numbers, particularly following the initial handling of rioting in Dublin city centre last year.

The Government recently increased the Garda entry age limit from 35 years to 50 in a bid to boost numbers.

The newest cohort were attested as sworn members of the force on Friday in a ceremony attended by Mr Harris and Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.

Of the 165, some 67 per cent are male, 33 per cent female, while 17 per cent were born outside of Ireland with new members originally from countries including the US, UK, Hong Kong, Uganda and Poland.


This brings total Garda numbers to 14,091, supported by 3,494 staff and 346 reserves.

A further 277 recruits are currently undergoing the training programme at the Garda College.

Mr Harris said he wants to grow the organisation to 15,000 gardaí in time.

He said the most recent recruitment campaign received over 6,300 applications, which he described as “very reassuring”.


The Commissioner also highlighted recently introduced enhanced personal safety equipment, including stronger incapacitant spray, and said the public order units “will soon be provided with tasers, and smaller riot shields”.

Ms McEntee described “good momentum” in building numbers.

“Budget 2024 provided the highest ever allocation of €2.3 billion to An Garda Síochána, which is a 23 per cent increase since 2020.

“This funding allows for the continued recruitment of between 800 and 1,000 Garda members,” she said.


“Today is the first attestation to take place at the Garda College in 2024, with further attestations planned for June and September this year.

“Four further intakes into the Garda College are planned for April, July, September and December of this year.

“There is good momentum building in recruitment to An Garda Síochána now.

“It is great to see classes growing in size, regular intakes and attestations, each once bolstering the strength of the organisation and improving Garda visibility in our communities.


“Despite the competitive jobs market, we continue to see dedicated and talented people pursuing a career in policing and public service.

“This means more gardaí on the frontline, preventing crime, supporting victims and helping keep all of us safe.”

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