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recruitment crisis

Increasing Garda retirement age to 62 under consideration, says Taoiseach

Varadkar has spoken to the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris about the measure.

INCREASING THE GARDA retirement age to 62 is “under consideration”, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Varadkar said he has spoken to the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris about the measure, as well as the justice minister. 

When asked about the recruitment crisis in An Garda Síochana, the Taoiseach acknowledged that the Government is going to have a ”big job” ahead of it to secure the 1,000 recruits the promised in the budget last year. 

The idea of increasing the retirement age from 60 years to 62 is “a good idea”, said Varadkar.

“If somebody is fit, healthy and able to do the job, why should there be a particular age at which they are told they must retire? Some safeguards around competence and fitness might be needed but once that is done I do not see why that age limit could not be increased. The Ministers, Deputies Donohoe and Harris, are working on that,” he said.

The resignation rate from An Garda Síochána is just over 1%, which the Taoiseach said “may well be higher than previous years”, but is low in comparison with most organisations across the public and private sectors.  

A similar issue in relation to retirement occurs in the Defence Forces where members are required to retire at 50 years of age, added Varadkar.

“I understand there has been a recent Workplace Relations Commission ruling on the matter of people not being able to join after the age of 35 years, so we may well see a change coming on that too,” he said.

Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Bay South, Jim O’Callaghan suggested to the Taoiseach that the upper age limit of 35 for new Garda recruits should be reviewed as a matter of urgency.

“Many people who have sedentary careers would be interested in joining the gardaí but for some reason they don’t give consideration to it in their early 20s. However, people in their 30s 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,” said O’Callaghan.

In his response the Taoiseach referenced a recent Labour Court ruling which found that the current Garda age limit of 35 for new job applicants is discriminatory on the grounds of age and said that we may see a change to that policy.

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