Generation gap fears over garda hiring ban
A GARDA recruitment ban is in danger of creating a generation gap in the force, it has been claimed.
The recruitment embargo, with minor exemptions, is likely to stay in place until well into 2014.
But the leader of the rank and file Garda Representative Association pledged last night that his group would lobby against a move that would not only develop a gap in age profile, but also detract from the vitality of the force.
On the eve of the association's annual conference in Westport, general secretary PJ Stone predicted that when recruitment resumed, the rates of pay would be lowered and this must be resisted as it only stored up greater pain for the future.
Mr Stone called for urgent legal reforms to provide a greater deterrent against violent assaults and reckless driving "where our members' uniforms and patrol vehicle livery are clearly visible and ignored".
He said the GRA also wanted greater protection from "excessive and protracted" negotiations by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.
President Damien McCarthy said his association rejected plans to reduce garda numbers to 13,000 when no government had the courage to publish independent academic research to determine how many gardai were needed.
He said they were also calling on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who is due to address the conference tomorrow, to speak on behalf of the force and tell the Government he needed more resources, especially garda numbers, to police Ireland.
"The public cannot expect the delivery of policing if garda numbers continue to be reduced when we have diverse and demanding challenges ahead," he added.