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Recruitment age for gardaí to rise from 35 to 50 from next month after Cabinet sign off

Government hopes to see a boost in recruitment numbers.

CABINET HAS SIGNED off on increasing the recruitment age limit from 35 to 50 for members of the gardaí.

A new Garda recruitment campaign is planned for next month and it is proposed to increase the upper age limit to 50 for that competition. 

It is understood that all future Garda trainees will be required to meet the same medical and fitness conditions as current trainees and standards will be maintained irrespective of age.

“It’s there for a reason,” a government spokesperson told reporters today. 

Fianna Fáil Justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan had previously suggested that the standards were too onerous for candidates. 

The changes to the age criteria for recruits comes after a Labour Court ruling determined the age limit was unlawful and amounted to discrimination on the grounds of age.

An appeal has been levelled against that decision.

During evidence to the court in that case Commissioner Drew Harris had claimed that the age limit of 35 was “essential”. He further claimed that it was needed to maintain the bar on older candidates because of the need for stamina.

Callaghan, who has been campaigning for a change in policy to allow recruits over the age of 35, said today that many people who have sedentary careers would be interested in joining the gardaí.

He said people in their 30s and 40s looking for a career change should be targeted.

“We are missing out on potentially a huge cohort of people who could bring practical experience to the force.

“I believe increasing the age limit for joining the gardaí, as announced by my colleagues in Government today, will go some way in addressing this issue and may result in increasing the pool of candidates applying for the next recruitment competition for An Garda Síochána which I understand is planned to launch next month,” he said. 

Speaking about the fitness test being a potential factor blocking recruitment and calling for it to be reviewed in the face of a recruitment crisis, he said: 

“I appreciate that a basic level of fitness is a prerequisite for a Garda but I believe the current test may be disqualifying those who have difficulty completing a strenuous obstacle course.

“A more sensible approach, in my view, would be to design the test to ascertain the candidate’s current level of fitness and an intensive programme be tailored accordingly on admission, should the recruit exhibit a baseline level of fitness.” 

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