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Minister for Justice Simon Harris welcomes attestation of new Garda members


The Minister for Justice, Simon Harris TD, has welcomed the attestations of 24 members of An Garda Síochána at the Garda College, Templemore, today ahead of a significant acceleration of recruitment this year.


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


Minister Harris said:


"I want to congratulate the recruits passing out in Templemore today. Their commitment to the security of the people of Ireland and to building stronger, safer communities is something which is to be commended and which we are all grateful for.


“An Garda Síochána works tirelessly to ensure that people all over the country can go about their daily lives safely and securely. Much of this Trojan work goes unseen, and occasions like today’s attestation ceremony are important opportunities to recognise and acknowledge the efforts of our Gardaí.


“In return, it is the role of Government to support the work of An Garda Síochána and my Department is committed to providing that support by way of unprecedented funding and strong legislation..


“I particularly welcome that, from next month, we will see 200 recruits enter the college every 11 weeks to meet our target, funded in Budget 2023, of recruiting 1,000 new Gardaí in 2023.


“And in the coming months, we will launch a new recruitment campaign for An Garda  Síochána to ensure we have a steady pipeline of recruits entering Templemore over the coming years.


“I wish the new recruits every success in their careers.”


Budget 2023 reflects the commitment of Government to ensuring that our communities are safe and that An Garda Síochána has the resources required to operate effectively.


The budget provided by Government to the Garda Commissioner continues to increase to unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €2.14 billion for 2023.


In recent weeks, Minister Harris also announced an additional capital allocation of €21.5 million to support significant investment in a replacement helicopter and fixed wing plane for An Garda Síochána.


While recruitment was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s group of new recruits is one in a steady stream of groups which will continue to join the ranks of An Garda Síochána regularly throughout this year and the years to come.


The first recruits from the 2022 recruitment campaign will begin their training in Templemore soon anda new recruitment campaign will launch in the coming months.


Of the 24 attesting today, 18 are men and 6 are women. 4 of the new recruits were born outside of the State.




Notes to the Editor:

  • There was a very strong interest in last year’s Garda recruitment campaign.
  • The recruitment process is continuing to identify candidates to enter the Garda College over the coming period.  
  • A new recruitment campaign will be launched by the Public Appointment Service in the coming months.
  • 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.



Minister Harris, Garda Attestation Ceremony Speech


Templemore, 13 January 2023

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Commissioner Harris,

Distinguished guests,


Most importantly our guests of honour today, our new Gardaí and your Families, friends and loved ones.


First and foremost, I want to congratulate all our new recruits who are passing out today.


Seeing you all here in your uniforms really is a sight to be proud of, a moment of great achievement for you and all those who have supported you to get here. 


I know that the training and education programmes, not to mention the fitness training, that you have undertaken to get to this point are no mean feat.


All of your hard work in Templemore over the past couple of years will stand you in good stead as you join your new colleagues in Garda Stations across the country shortly.


I feel very privileged to be here with you and to share this very important moment in your careers.

You are taking on a role in public service that will require a lot of personal commitment.


People all over Ireland expect a very high level of policing, because that is what we have become used to over the past 100 years.


We have your Garda colleagues past and present to thank for that high standard.

With that in mind, today I want to tell you a little bit about the importance of your work as you begin your Garda career.


As Minister for Justice, it is my sincere hope that each and every one of you enjoys a long and satisfying career of public service.


Being a public servant, a member of An Garda Síochána, is something for you and your families to be very proud of.

But I know the decision to join the ranks is not one that any Garda member takes lightly. 


It is both a rewarding and a demanding career.  It demands great sacrifice, it involves personal risk, but the fulfilment is incredibly rewarding. 


It will bring you into contact with a full spectrum of Irish society. 


That society, as I know as a public representative, is made up overwhelmingly, of decent, honest, people who just want to get on with their lives. 


There are some, a tiny minority, who are committed to a life of crime and who by their actions make the lives of others miserable and often intolerable. 


And you will meet the victims of crime.  Victims of domestic violence.  Victims of rape and sexual assault.  People afraid for their own safety and the safety of their children.  As Minister for Justice, I am dedicated to ensuring that the Commissioner has the legal powers and the resources including the most modern technology to bring those people to justice. 


There can be no hiding place for the crime gangs or the drug barons; for those who commit rape or sexual assault or visit violence on their partners; or anyone else committing serious crime in this state. 


Neither can we tolerate the flaunting of their ill-gotten gains by the criminal fraternity – I intend to further strengthen the powers of the Criminal Assets Bureau to make sure that is the case. 


And attacks on you or your colleagues such as we recently saw have no place in Irish society. Those responsible will be subjected to the full rigours of the law.


But, as well as those small number of people devoted to criminality and lawlessness, you will encounter others who by dint of mental health issues, trauma, homelessness, or addiction, come to your attention. 


While these people may commit crimes, they are not in any true sense criminals.  You or I could, by an accident of birth or life circumstances, be in their shoes. 


I am committed as Minister to exploring ways of diverting these people away from the criminal justice system, to be dealt with by the other public services best equipped and trained to support them to address their behaviour and participate positively in society. 


It upsets me to hear stories of people for whom prison provides sanctuary – who feel that their lives are better behind bars than in their homes, if they have homes. 


Those people deserve to be given the appropriate services they need to deal with their behaviours.


As you will know, I am also Minister for Further and Higher Education and I am convinced that education and training has a huge role to play in preventing people falling into crime and for those who do, in providing a pathway out. 

I am planning, with my colleague, Minister James Browne, to establish a forum to examine the delivery of education and training in the criminal justice system. We will identify any gaps that may exist and ensure that the system delivers tangible positive results for individuals and for society.


My bottom line is this. 


If you see crime as a career, if you couldn’t care less as to the damage you cause to the lives of others, if you have no respect for your fellow citizens or for the forces of law and order in the State, there is no limit to the resources that will be deployed to bring you to justice. 


If you are convicted of crime, you will serve your time. 


But if you are someone who, but for the circumstances you are in, would never have had any interaction with the criminal justice system, we will do our best to divert you to the services you need.


We will look to help you to change your behaviour, to rehabilitate, and to live a positive life.


As I said earlier, as new Gardaí, I am certain that the vast majority of people you meet will be delighted to see you on the streets and will support you in everything you do. 


That support and pride in our Gardaí, which will sustain you in the difficult times, is essential to our model of community policing. 


I know that Gardaí and Garda staff are embedded in their communities the length and breadth of Ireland, valued for their contribution and commitment, and respected for their integrity and honesty.


I am sure that you too will make your own unique contribution to making Ireland a better place both as Garda members and as positive, active citizens in your communities and I wish you well with that.


You will, no doubt, meet many challenges along the way and I want to assure you that I and the Government are committed to making sure that An Garda Síochána has the resources it needs to provide support to its members as challenges arise.


You are a relatively small group passing out today but you are one of many groups of new recruits who will join the ranks of An Garda Síochána this year and in the years to follow.


From my point of view, I feel particularly honoured to be here with your smaller group because I have the privilege to properly meet you all.


After more than two years of Covid restrictions here in the Garda College, the number of Gardaí across the country is on the rise again and there will be another recruitment campaign launched this year.


In addition, of course, the successful applicants from last year’s recruitment campaign will be joining you out on the beat, in communities around the country in the near future, once they have completed their own training here in Templemore.


This year, the Government has allocated funding of €2.14 billion to An Garda Síochána which will allow the Commissioner to recruit up to 1,000 Gardaí and 400 Garda staff. We have a current target of reaching a workforce of 19,000 made up of 15,000 Gardaí and 4,000 Garda staff and I expect that we will reach this number by the end of 2024. 


It is not all about money, however.


As Minister for Justice, I want to ensure you have the legislation you need to do your jobs effectively.


A key support to help Garda members carry out duties safely is the Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill.

This Bill was a recommendation from the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

As you may already be aware, it allows for the use of bodyworn cameras for Gardaí.

Your fellow Gardaí have called for this technology, and we have listened.


This technology is already used by police services in other jurisdictions, and it greatly assists in front-line policing.

I understand that the Garda Commissioner plans to roll out the cameras on a pilot basis and I very much look forward to hearing about how those involved in the pilot find the new technology.


The landscape of crime is changing.


Criminals are always coming up with more advanced and insidious ways to exploit the vulnerable.  .

As Gardaí, you need to have the technology necessary to combat these crimes and to carry out your mission of keeping Ireland safe.


Earlier this month I was delighted to announce additional funding of over €20million to invest in a new Garda helicopter and plane.


Both the fixed wing plane and the longer range and high capacity utility helicopter will be fully equipped with Garda mission equipment.


Your colleagues in the Garda Air Support Unit carry out vital work to combat criminal activity and this investment will boost their ability to uphold national security and protect the public.


The new helicopter will also support the rapid deployment of the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Units where necessary.


Every day I see the dedication and courage demonstrated by your fellow Gardaí.


Importantly, I also see a never-ending appetite to improve methods of policing.


As new recruits, you are all entering An Garda Síochána at a time of very exciting change with the introduction of the new operating model.


You are among the Gardaí who will drive this change and your work in serving the people of Ireland under a new  model of policing, designed for the 21st century, which is even more strongly community based, will be invaluable to the generations to come.


This year, I am particularly looking forward to seeing how this new model will benefit communities all over the country, with the rollout of community policing teams across all Garda divisions.


I think this will have a significant benefit in furthering strengthening the bond between An Garda Síochána and our communities, which is already the envy of police service across the world. 


It is up to you, as Gardaí, with the support of Garda management, my Department and the wider Government, to make sure that this period of change is remembered as a smooth and successful transition.


I know that as we journey together into the second 100 years of policing in Ireland that we do so in the spirit of strong partnership.


No doubt, all of you are feeling a range of emotions today, justifiable pride and excitement in your achievement, possibly even some trepidation at embarking on your career in a real way, having completed your training.


My hope for today is that you all feel reassured that, whatever successes and challenges you face over the coming years, you will have the support of your managers, your skippers who will mould you, and that of the entire country. 

And my hope beyond today is that you go on to every success in what promises to be interesting and personally fulfilling careers in An Garda Síochána.


It just remains for me to thank each of you for your commitment to public service and to tell you how much that commitment is valued by the people of Ireland.


Thank you.