Garda force recruits 40 members from reserve
FORTY members of the Garda Reserve have joined the ranks of the full-time force.
Senior officers regard the number as satisfactory, and expect it to increase significantly as recruitment for the permanent force resumes from next month.
The five-year moratorium on garda recruitment put a halt to a rise in that number of reservists whose ambition was to become a police man or woman.
At the moment, there are 1,192 attested reserve gardai with a further 89 at various stages of training.
Reservists continued to graduate from the Garda College in Templemore while the ban on garda recruitment existed.
However, it is due to be lifted next month when the first batch of around 100 applicants will be admitted to the college and further groups are expected to be taken in later in the year, making a total of around 300 by the end of December.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has rejected a suggestion that reservists, with a minimum of two years' service, applying to join the permanent force should automatically go through to interview level.
She said the stages in the recruitment process, leading up to interviews, included assessment tests and exercises that were more rigorous than those for joining the reserve.
After a controversial start to the reserve, in which garda representative bodies believed it could be exploited by politicians to use part-timers to compensate for a reduction in the full-time force, it has now become a fully accepted part of the organisation.