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Coronavirus measures: Retiring gardaí asked to stay on and 325 Garda students to be sworn in

The announcement means that Garda annual leave has been limited and that Garda training has been deferred.

Image: PA Images

Updated Mar 13th 2020, 11:12 AM

GARDA COMMISSIONER DREW Harris has this morning announced a number of measures the force is taking to help in the fight against Covid-19. 

Harris said the outbreak of the disease means that significant measures have to be put in place so officers can best respond to potential crises.

The following changes were announced this morning: 

  • Annual leave is restricted
  • Around 325 Garda students to be fast-tracked and attested next week
  • An extra 210 vehicles have been hired 
  • Members working as tutors in the Garda College will be deployed to operational duties
  • Non-essential foreign travel has been banned
  • Senior gardaí who were due to retire have been “invited to defer their retirement for three months”.

In detail:

Gardaí who are due a severance package from 1 April 2020 are being asked to defer their retirement for three months; those who have reached the compulsory retirement age are being offered to stay on in the force for another year, subject to government approval and the Garda Commissioner’s consideration of each application.

A contingency roster that is to come into effect from next Monday, limiting annual leave to no more than 5% of the force at any time, and 210 extra Garda vehicles have been hired. 

Around 325 Garda students at the Templemore Garda College will be sworn in next week, and deployed to Garda stations across the country in the coming weeks. Tutors and instructors at the Garda College will also be deployed for operational duties or essential services.

As a result, training at the college has been deferred. 

Speaking at Garda Headquarters today, Harris said that the main goal is to keep people safe. He added that the public will see a greater garda presence on the streets. 

We want to provide reassurance to society, to keep people safe and then support other agencies in the weeks ahead. We are taking prudent measures in terms of rosters as well. I want to reiterate that we want to be there to provide reassurance but to also support communities.

Harris also said that officers will be patrolling around supermarkets. He said that this was to provide reassurance to the public and added there is no fear of looting.

Ireland has moved to the ‘delay phase’ of efforts to stop the coronavirus spread, resulting in an “unprecedented” situation where schools, colleges and cultural institutions are to close for two weeks to try to limit the number of people falling ill.

Mass indoor gatherings of over 100 and 500 people for outdoor events are cancelled. All these measures will take effect until 29 March. 

Yesterday, Ireland saw it’s biggest daily increase in confirmed cases, with 27 more people having been confirmed to have contracted Covid-19 in Ireland, bringing the total to 70.

- with reporting from Aoife Barry and Gráinne Ní Aodha

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