Garda to spend €15m on new uniforms over next three years

Contractor sought to manufacture and supply uniforms at a cost of about €900 each

Garda recruits are pictured during a parade at the Garda College in Templemore. The Garda Press Office said the new uniform was being introduced based on feedback from gardaí. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Garda recruits are pictured during a parade at the Garda College in Templemore. The Garda Press Office said the new uniform was being introduced based on feedback from gardaí. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Garda management has published an invitation to tender for a contract for the supply of operational and ceremonial uniforms. The contract is for a three-year period and could possibly be extended to a maximum of six years.

The force expects the spend to be about €15 million in the first three years, which includes the initial rollout of operational wear to 13,000 gardaí at a projected cost of €11 million. This suggests the cost of an individual uniform would be about €900.

Tender documents say the operational uniform should consist of a raincoat, softshell jacket, trousers, over-trousers, belt, cap, long- and short-sleeved polo shirt, T-shirt, long johns, cut-resistant gloves and raincoat epaulettes. It is understood that gardaí will no longer be required to wear a tie while on normal duty, but they will be for formal or ceremonial occasions.

The documents show there are numerous design and fabric specifications for each individual garment, with potential bidders required to comply with a minimum of 95 per cent of these specifications to be considered eligible. For example, there are 62 specific requirements for a raincoat with detachable sleeves for the mountain bike unit.

Fitting service

The winning bidder will be expected to manufacture, store, supply and deliver uniforms to a number of locations around the State as well as provide a measuring and fitting service. The company will also have to supply uniforms for new recruits over the duration of the contract.

It says the ceremonial uniforms, which consist of a tunic, overcoat and jumper, will be made available on an “issue and return” basis. In exceptional circumstances where gardaí are outside the normal range of sizes, personally tailored uniforms must be supplied at no additional cost.

Workwear for most other professions and trades have been modernised, but gardaí have been lagging behind

The Garda Press Office said the new uniform was being introduced based on feedback from gardaí during a cultural audit conducted by the force.

A spokesman said it was hoped that the new uniform would be available for use by gardaí from mid-2021. The force is said it was not obliged to accept the lowest price bid for the contract.

Actively engaging

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents more than 11,000 rank-and-file gardaí, said it had been actively engaging with management on the design of the uniform.

It said it was recently shown a prototype uniform which was widely agreed to represent “a significant improvement on the current version”. It is understood gardaí particularly welcomed improvements in the quality of fabric and appearance of the new uniform.

“Workwear for most other professions and trades have been modernised, but gardaí have been lagging behind,” a GRA spokesman said.