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TD says retired gardai could free up staff for frontline

Some 340 Gardaí are engaged exclusively in administrative duties according to Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

LIMERICK TD PATRICK O’Donovan has said that frontline policing numbers could be boosted if retired gardai serving on the Garda Reserve carried out some of the administrative roles currently being filled by full time members of the force.

O’Donovan raised the issue in a series of parliamentary questions to the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

Under current regulations, the majority of retired gardai automatically meet the entry requirements to serve as members of the Garda Reserve. O’Donovan said that considering the impacts of the hiring ban in the public service, “we need to look at how we can use this voluntary source of manpower to maximum benefit”. He said:

There are currently about 340 Gardaí engaged exclusively in administrative duties,” he said. “I am encouraging the Minister to look at whether retired members of the force, serving as part of the Garda Reserve, could fill some of these posts. This would free up serving gardai to carry out frontline policing duties.

The Fine Gael TD said many administrative posts relate back to office and communication functions and could be filled by Reservists. He said it was also likely that retired gardai could carry out many roles that may not be appropriate for regular Reservists, due to their additional training and experience.

In his reply, Minister Shatter said there are over 2,000 full-time equivalent civilian support staff in the Garda Síochána who provide support in administrative areas. He said:

We will continue to maximise the number of civilian support staff in An Garda Síochána consistent with overall policy on numbers in the public service and taking into account the scope for the appropriate redeployment of staff from elsewhere in the public service as part of the reform process under the Croke Park Agreement.

O’Donovan said that while he welcomed Shatter’s commitment to civilian support in An Garda Síochána he hoped his suggestion would be considered as a way to ease the strain on Garda resources.

“At a time when our resources are under severe pressure, we need to look at every possible way to boost and protect frontline services through staff redeployment,” he said.

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