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Minister for Justice Helen McEntee welcomes attestation of new 126 Garda members

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee welcomes attestation of new 126 Garda members

The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has welcomed the attestation of 126 members of An Garda Síochána at the Garda College, Templemore, today.

The newly attested members have now completed their training and will be assigned to Garda Divisions throughout the country.

Of the 126 attesting today, 91 are men and 35 are women. 5 of the new recruits were born outside of the State.

Minister McEntee said:

"I want to congratulate the recruits passing out in Templemore today and wish them all the best in their future careers.

“Their commitment to public service and building stronger, safer communities is something to be commended and which we are all grateful for.”

Minister McEntee and the Garda Commissioner announced at the attestation today that the age limit for joining An Garda Síochána is to increase from 35 to 50.

Minister McEntee said:

“Commissioner Harris and I both believe that the age should be changed in advance of the next Garda recruitment campaign to give as many people as possible the opportunity to apply to An Garda Síochána.

The entry age limit of 35 has been in place since 2004, when it was increased from 26.

A new age limit of 50 is being chosen to widen the opportunity to join An Garda Síochána but to also ensure there is an appropriate period of time between someone potentially entering at 50 and retiring ten years later.

As part of the budget package for An Garda Síochána announced earlier this week, we have also provided a 66 percent increase in the Garda training allowance to €305.”

The retirement age is currently set at 60, but Minister McEntee has also held discussions with Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe on this issue.

The change to the entry age can only be made by way of regulation following approval by the Cabinet, and Minister McEntee will bring proposals to Government shortly.

The announcement comes at a time when Garda recruitment is accelerating following a Covid enforced pause, during which the Garda College in Templemore was closed.

Minister McEntee said:

“I am delighted that Garda recruitment, both in terms of Garda members and Garda staff, is gaining significant momentum after the Covid-enforced pause. Another class will enter the College on Monday, another in December, and we have provided funding for the recruitment of between 800 and 1000 new Gardaí in 2024.

One of my key priorities as Minister for Justice is to build safer and stronger communities by reducing and preventing crime, continually working to enhance national security and transforming and strengthening An Garda Síochána.

I am committed to ensuring they have the resources they need, as reflected in the unprecedented budgets over the last 3 years, now reaching €2.3billion for 2024, a 23% increase on 2020.

We are not only investing in recruitment, but in a range of other supports too - we are ensuring better protections for Gardaí, through the introduction of body worn cameras and stronger penalties for assaults on frontline workers; we are supporting the Commissioner to modernise ICT to improve efficiencies in the organisation; increasing the number of Garda staff to free Gardaí up for frontline duties; and the recruitment of a Reserve class for the first time since 2017 next year.

Another priority for me is delivering on the reforms recommended by the Commission on the Future of Policing through the enactment and commencement of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill which will strengthen the governance and oversight of An Garda Síochána, and will enhance the safety of our communities through greater collaboration between a range of public service bodies, not just An Garda Síochána.

I truly believe that the new recruits are joining the organisation at a time of massive opportunity both for them and for the organisation – they are joining a police service that is continually developing to ensure it is world-class, and we are giving them every support to ensure they can achieve that.”


Notes to the Editor:

  • In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended), the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána. This includes responsibility for the deployment of Garda members throughout the State.
  • Garda recruitment is building momentum and there was a very strong interest in the 2022 and 2023 Garda recruitment campaigns.
  • Overall, since 2015 there has been an almost 9% increase in the number of Gardaí. There was also a more than 56% increase in Garda staff for the same period. Garda Staff perform a number of vital roles that are essential to a modern police service and increase the availability of Gardaí to concentrate on frontline policing duties.
  • A new recruitment campaign for the Garda Reserve will take place in early 2024 – the first such recruitment campaign since 2017.
  • As part of A Policing Service for our Future, the Government’s plan to modernise and strengthen An Garda Síochána, the Commissioner developed the Garda Reserve Strategy 2021-2025, which provides a roadmap for the development of this important service.