Garda recruitment drive seeks to broaden diversity of force

Campaign aimed at ‘every ethnicity, minority background, religious identity’, Harris says

A recruitment drive aimed at attracting members of diverse communities has been announced by the Garda.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said the force is aware it has "a lot of work to do in this area".

The campaign with the slogan The Difference is You comes as the Government has committed to adding a further 800 gardaí to the 14,539 members of the force already serving.

The 800 new members are to be added this year and the requirement that a recruit must be proficient in two languages is to be lifted. Recruits will only need to be proficient in either Irish or English.

Mr Harris said the force is "very keen to break down some of the barriers that may have been deterring people of every ethnicity, minority background, religious identity or none from applying to become a garda".

The campaign will feature gardaí in a number of situations “where every day skills can be transferred into policing”, according to the force. It will run online and across social media with television and online video channels from Thursday.

"Ireland is changing and is more diverse and multi-cultural than ever before," said Mr Harris. "We want our police service to fully reflect this important progress and to represent all the communities that we proudly serve. That is why our recruitment drive is focused on encouraging those who may not have previously considered training to become a garda."

The competition for places which is open from Thursday, February 10th, until 3pm on Wednesday, March 16th, is seeking to attract candidates from across society and with a wide variety of skills

“Becoming a garda is a chance to make a real difference in communities. We want people from all backgrounds to join us and make that difference,” Mr Harris said.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist