Garda recruits in Templemore Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Templemore recruitment moratorium criticised

There will be no new recruits admitted to Templemore, the garda training centre, for the next two years.

THERE WILL BE  no new gardaí recruited to Templemore college for training over the next two years.

This moratorium has been criticised by the two largest garda representative bodies as well as people living in the the town.

On today’s Morning Ireland radio programme on RTE Radio 1, crime correspondent Paul Reynolds spoke to traders in Templemore about the impact the decision would have on them.

The last garda recruits graduate next Thursday but the space will be used for the ongoing training of current gardaí.

John Redmond, deputy general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors,  said that staff numbers in Templemore have begun to reduce over the past number of months.

He added that a certain percentage of those who have the professional experience in training gardaí will move on, ” so their experience is lost”.

He cautioned that if the government reversed its decision over the next two years, “you can’t hit the ground running because all that expertise is gone”.

Redmond described the decision as  a “mistake” that was “shortsighted”.

He noted that one significant growth area in a recession is crime and that though the EU ratio of police officers to citizens is 1:314, in Ireland it is 1: 346 people.

He said the association hadn’t discussed the subject with the current government yet as it was made by the previous government, but it is on the agenda for discussion.

By February 2012, “huge numbers” of gardaí will have retired due to signifcant changes in their gratuities and pensions coming into place on 1 March, said Redmond.

“The country’s in a bit of a state and there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “There are things which are essential. I think policing is essential and the community deserves to be policed.”

He added: “I think there is more to it than the day-to-day finance”.

One trader in the town told RTE that Templemore recruits supported the local economy because of the amount of local products and services needed by them.

Martin Gray, chairperson of the Templemore Trader’s Association, said that the lack of recruits will be “a big loss to this town” and will lose the town “close to millions of euro”.

Meanwhile, near Templemore, a proposed centre of excellence for garda firearms training and an advanced driving centre has still not been completed. €5.5 million has been spent on it so far.

Listen to the full Morning Ireland interviews here>

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