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garda recruitment

Garda recruitment age limit should be reconsidered, says justice minister

The Government hope to recruit 1,000 new gardaí by the end of the year.

JUSTICE MINISTER SIMON Harris has said the age limit in which someone can both join the gardaí or must retire from the force needs to be considered. 

TheJournal asked the minister in Monaghan today if changes need to be made in a bid to hit the Government’s target to recruit 1,000 new members into the gardaí by the end of this year. 

The minister said he “does not feel particularly comfortable” with a mandatory retirement age or a limit on the age a new Garda recruit must be. 

The maximum age at which a person may apply to join An Garda Siochana is 35.

However, the Labour Court has determined this was unlawful and amounted to discrimination on the grounds of age. An appeal has been levelled against that decision. 

There is also a mandatory retirement age for all Garda members of 60 years old.

“I don’t feel particularly comfortable with mandatory retirement ages or you can’t be older than this age when you join.

“The world has moved on, you know, people in their 60s have plenty to give and offer.

“And this idea that you have to be forced to retire or indeed that at 36 years of age, you can’t consider – subject to passing a fitness test – joining the gardai, so I think these are all issues that should and will be considered in due course,” Harris told TheJournal.

The idea it was a “job for life” has changed, said the minister, stating that it is “Okay” for people to take up different careers during their life.

There are “big questions” for the gardaí and the public service, said Harris. 

The minister said he remains confident that the Government can reach its recruitment numbers by the end of the year.

There were almost 5,000 applicants to be a garda at the end of April, said Harris, stating that garda numbers are growing. 

“The target remains the target, people are working night and day to get there,” he said. 

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