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Six months pay to be offered to senior gardaí to encourage early retirement

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will seek 30 senior Garda officers to avail of the severance package.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will not fill the positions once they are vacant.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will not fill the positions once they are vacant.

SIX MONTHS PAY is to be offered to senior members of the gardaí to encourage them to retire before the age of 60. 

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will today bring the proposals for the early retirement severance programme to Cabinet for approval. 

The aim is to incentivise 30 Garda members at senior ranks to take retirement before the maximum retirement age of 60.

The Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will seek 30 senior Garda officers to avail of the severance package.

Up to 30 surplus posts across senior ranks will be identified as part of the move.

These include 20 at the rank of Superintendent, eight at Chief Superintendent level, and two at Assistant Commissioner level.

Voluntary basis 

The programme is to be on a voluntary basis, and to be limited to members of Superintendent rank and above, but not including the Garda Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.

Garda civilian staff at the level of Executive Director or Assistant Secretary level can also apply.

The Garda positions will fall vacant as a result of the organisational restructuring within the force. Any civilian staff positions will be replaced. 

Gardaí that avail of the offer will get the six months pay, in addition to their normal pension and lump sum entitlements. 

The additional cost of the package will be €6.5 million during 2020.

The early retirement package for senior Garda officers is one of the recommendations from the Commission on the Future of Policing.

The retirements will result in a reduction in the number of senior Garda positions required at divisional level.

Restructuring plans 

However, it is understood that this plan forms a vital part of the restructuring of the Garda organisation into the new Garda Operating Model which aims to reduce the number of divisions from 28 to approximately 19.

The €6.5 million cost of the roll out includes the costs of paying the severance gratuities that fall due in 2020, and also the additional costs associated with bringing forward lump sum and pension payments that would not otherwise fall due to be paid until later years.

Garda members who avail of the early retirement programme will not be permitted to rejoin the Garda organisation, either as sworn members or civilian staff.

The programme will be launched in the coming weeks, with a closing date for
acceptance at the end of January 2020. 

The Garda Commissioner alone will decide who is granted early retirement.

Gardaí who are allowed to retire early will leave their positions in April 2020, however some departures will be on a phased basis depending on take-up and the locations in which those availing of the programme are serving.

While the number of senior ranking members will be reduced, the Commissioner is understood to be increasing the number of lower-ranking officers at Garda level, Sergeant and Inspector level as these are the “most visible difference to the public on the ground”.

There are now approximately 14,330 gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,900 Garda staff. It is expected that a further 700 gardaí will be recruited in 2020, however this is believed to be dependent on the Commissioner’s decision on how best to balance the number of gardaí and Garda staff. 

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