Part-timers have been given bumpy ride
Published 13/04/2011 | 05:00
THE Garda Reserve has been given a bumpy ride since its controversial creation.
It is not the first time the Government has been urged to scrap the part-time civilian back-up amid estimates it would save €3m to €4m a year.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors called for its disbandment since the moment it was set up in 2009. In a private submission to the Justice Department, they claimed huge money and resources were being wasted on training, uniform, equipment and the annual net allowance given to reserves.
Initially, the then-Justice Minister Michael McDowell had considered the reserve would number up to 4,000 people. This was later reduced to 10pc of the full-time force.
It's envisaged the part-time civilian reserve will be expanded by 300 this year and a further 300 in 2012. This will bring it to its target of 1,400.
There are almost 800 fully-qualified reservists, with dozens more in training since recruitment first started in August 2006. They hail from around 22 different countries.
A number of those signing up are believed to be using their time as reservists as a stepping stone to get an insight into the force in the hopes of eventually becoming full-time members.
The reservists serve throughout the country in the same uniform as regular gardai. They have the letters 'GR' on their shoulder epaulettes.
They have the power of arrest under law and have been trained in self defence.
Garda reserves are not paid but are "entitled to a small allowance on completion of each year's service".