Garda jobs freeze to end with up to 300 recruited

Minister for Justice says he expects at least 20,000 to apply for positions


The Government is recruit up to 300 new gardaí next year after a five-year freeze in recruitment, with the first class to enter the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, next summer.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said between 250 and 300 would enter the college in two classes next year. Garda sources familiar with the recruitment process said the first class would enter the college next July and would most likely number 100 recruits.

The contest to fill the posts is being managed by the public appointments service, with applicants to join being invited online.

Mr Shatter said at a passing-out ceremony for Garda reservists in Templemore yesterday that he expected at least 20,000 people to apply for the positions, adding the number might be even higher.

Some 92 reservists passed out at yesterday’s event including Ciaran McGowan, the son of Deputy Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan who is in the running to become the first female Garda commissioner. She believed her son, a 25-year-old photographer who will based in Clontarf in north Dublin, may go on to be a full-time Garda.

The online application process for the force proper was opened yesterday, with 1,000 applicants received by 9am. It will close on January 9th.

Because so many people are expected to apply, the process of selecting the 100 candidates for the first intake will take almost six months. That timeline is later than many in the force had anticipated and will mean the class will not be posted to Garda stations until February 2015 at the earliest.

The recruits will spend 32 weeks at the Garda College before being allocated to stations. They will have full Garda powers at that stage but must continue their training process for 72 weeks, which includes another short stint at the college. The delay in the first intake will mean Garda numbers will fall well below 13,000 by the time the recruits enter the college, with numbers currently at 13,100.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has said repeatedly he did not want to see numbers fall below 13,000.

“I think it’s likely that during 2014 the numbers will be maintained up to the figure of 13,000 pretty well until the end of July or early August,” Mr Shatter said. “Clearly there may be a short period of time where the numbers dip below 13,000, but the objective strength we want to maintain is 13,000. If the numbers dip below that, it will be for a very short period of time.”