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A stock image of gardaí 'passing out' n Templemore Garda College.
sleeping in cars

Rental crisis in Dublin is a 'contributory factor' in garda resignations

Detective Inspector Brian Downey in Dublin, speaking at the AGSI conference in Westport said that gardaí have also resigned because of the cost of renting.

RENTAL COSTS IN Dublin are so high that young gardaí are faced with commuting for hours to work and some choose to sleep in cars rather than travel home after a 12-hour shift, a senior garda has said. 

Detective Inspector Brian Downey in Dublin, speaking at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) conference in Westport said that gardaí have also resigned because of the cost of renting.

During their training student gardaí are on €305 per week – newly qualified gardaí leave Templemore Garda College after 36 weeks on a wage of €36,000.

Average rents in Dublin are €2,344 – this was compiled by the most recent Daft Report.

Downey spoke about a young female garda in Dublin who had resigned after 12 months couch-surfing because she could not find a place to live. 

“We’re now subject to the same challenges that other public servants have in terms of the housing crisis – there is nowhere for people to rent,” he said. 

Downey said it is not just young gardaí – newly promoted sergeants and inspectors are also finding it difficult to find accommodation. Those officers are sent away from where they live to serve for a time in a new station.

“We’re asking the Minister (for Justice) to give consideration for capital funding to actually build or purchase accommodation for newly promoted gardaí or for newly qualified gardaí because they have nowhere to live.

“We’re not asking for houses to house families. We’re just asking for a period of time to give them a start,” he said. 

The situation is grave across the country but particularly bad in Dublin where the rental stock is not there and the stock that becomes available is too expensive, he explained. 

“When I was researching this, I came across a sad story,” Downey said. “It is the situation where a young new qualified garda who was enthusiastic, good working with less than 12 months service arriving into Dublin where she was to be stationed. 

“She had no relatives so she managed to do couch-surfing from apartment to apartment.

“We have to be very careful who we share with, it’s quite difficult for us because of the job we do. But nearly 12 months had gone by and that enthusiastic member unfortunately just gave up and she resigned. She had nowhere to live,” he said.

Downey said he is meeting new gardaí coming to his station in North Dublin who are being forced to commute long distances to work. 

“I have a member commuting from Monaghan, I have members commuting from Mullingar on a daily basis. 

“These are gardaí who are now expected to do 12-hour tours of duty and if they get delayed at all, if they have a prisoner and there is a detention [questioning] they then have to get into their car, they are tired and there is a health and safety risk there. 

“This is because they can’t afford to live near their station and they are having to drive back to turn around and come back in and that is where people often opt to sleep in cars,” he said. 

Downey said that there are multiple reasons why people are resigning but the housing crisis is “certainly a contributory factor”. 

The AGSI, he said, have “long canvassed” for urban area allowances to actually pay for the rent. 

“But in today’s world there is simply no accommodation – we are suffering the same problems as other public servants. 

“We are asking the Minister to buy or build a place where we can give short term affordable rent to people – to just give them a start, retain them and keep them in the job,” he added. 

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