Garda advertisement attracts 30,000 applicants for degree course

Shatter says first of the recruits to begin training next year

About 30,000 people have applied to an advertisement for Garda recruits, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter told the Dáil

About 30,000 people have applied to an advertisement for Garda recruits, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter told the Dáil

Thu, Sep 26, 2013, 01:00

About 30,000 people have applied to an advertisement for Garda recruits to undergo a new training programme and graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in police studies, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter told the Dáil.

He said the first students were expected to enter the Garda college in Templemore, Co Tipperary, in the middle of next year.

Their training would be in three phases – 32 weeks in the college, 65 weeks in Garda stations and seven weeks of examinations and assessment.

“The number of recruits to be drawn down from this new competition will be determined taking a number of factors into account, including the current and projected strength of the force, the projected retirement rate and, of course, the availability of resources,’’ he added.

New recruits

Mr Shatter said he believed it was important for an organisation such as the Garda, particularly given the physical demands of policing, to have some regular intakes of new recruits, even on a modest scale.

He said the current number of gardaí was 13,190, but he did not know how many retirements there would be before the end of the year.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South, said Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had made it clear that 13,000 gardaí were an absolute requirement to provide basic levels of service.

‘Crime prevention’

Mr Shatter said gardaí did a great deal more than provide a basic level of service.

They were currently providing an efficient and effective service which included not just crime investigation but also crime prevention.

“If that was not the case, we would not have seen a drop of over 20,000 in the number of offences that were recorded as being committed in the preceding 12 months,’’ he added.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl said he was happy to pay tribute to the gardaí, but Mr Shatter should answer the simple question about what he was going to do to prevent numbers falling below 13,000 before the new recruits had graduated.

‘Garda numbers’

Mr Shatter said those issues would be dealt with in the context of where they were moving forward.

“The deputy is labouring under an illusion as to where Garda numbers might be in 12 to 18 months’ time,’’ he added.

“I cannot predict with certainty where numbers may be then.’’