Thirty six senior Garda approved for early retirement

Assistant Commissioner and executive director among those taking package

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has signed off on early retirement packages for 36 senior members of the force. Photograph: Tom Honan/ The Irish Times

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has signed off on early retirement packages for 36 senior members of the force. Photograph: Tom Honan/ The Irish Times

 

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has signed off on early retirement packages for 36 senior members of the force as part of restructuring and reform initiatives.

The gardaí were informed last week their applications for early retirement had been approved and that they will receive an extra six month’s pay in addition to their standard pension and lump sum entitlements.

Twenty eight superintendents, six chief superintendents, one assistant commissioner and one civilian executive director will take up the offer.

Assistant Commissioner for the Dublin region Pat Leahy and executive director of finance and services Michael Culhane are the two most senior members to take the package.

The terms of the package were approved by Cabinet in December and eligible candidates were chosen by Mr Harris.

The early retirements are part of efforts to implement the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing which put forward a wide-ranging programme of reform in its report in 2018.

The first round of retirements will take place in April. They will involve a significant loss of experience and institutional memory for the Garda. Most members taking the package have at least 30 years experience.

As part of the organisational restructuring of the force, which involves a reduction in the number of Garda divisions, the positions, with the exception of the assistant commissioner and executive director roles, will not be replaced.

Under the new Garda Operating Model the country will be divided into 19 policing divisions, down from 28.

The internal competition for Mr Leahy’s replacement has already begun.

Garda management and the Department of Justice originally planned to grant a maximum of 30 early retirements but this was increased to 36 after more than expected applied.

Those taking up the package will be barred from rejoining the Garda, both as civilians and as sworn members.

The retirement packages, which were available only to officers at the rank of superintendent or above, will cost more than €6.5 million.