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Minister to amend law to allow Garda Commissioner work past the age of 60

The change will will remove any disincentive to potential candidates for vacancies that might arise at the top of the Garda organisation.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

SENIOR GARDA MEMBERS could be allowed work past the age of 60 if an amendment to the law is allowed.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan is to ask the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to consider an amendment to the Public Service Superannuation (Age of
Retirement) Bill relating to the retirement age of senior members of the gardaí, which includes the Garda Commissioner.

The current legislation provides that the Commissioner, or Deputy Garda Commissioner, must retire at 60 years. The new Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, is 55 years old.

The minister proposes the legislative amendment to allow persons over the age of 55 years who are appointed to these ranks to retire on the completion of five years of service in the rank, even though this would require them to work beyond 60.

It is understood that this is a relatively minor change, but the minister believes it will remove any disincentive to potential candidates for vacancies that might arise at the top of the Garda organisation. 

Recently, the Garda Inspectorate warned that garda retirements are due to spike over the next three years. It said there will be a need to recruit members from abroad to fill the gaps.

The Justice Department is of the view that it is in the interests of “effective and strategic policing” that a person appointed to the most senior ranks of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner should in all cases serve a full five-year term in the rank prior to being required to retire.

This is also in accordance with the recommendations set out in the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, has committed to accommodate the proposed amendment.

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