600 applicants vying for place in garda training college
JUST 600 applicants are battling for a place in the first tranche of candidates to emerge from the garda recruitment campaign, following the initial stages of a series of tests.
The campaign was the first since a government embargo on recruitment was imposed in 2009, and attracted 25,000 applications.
Government sanction for the size of the first intake to the garda training college at Templemore has not been officially given by the Cabinet.
But it is expected that a batch of 100 recruits will be admitted in July and followed by similar groups on a three-monthly basis. The aim is to maintain the strength of the force at 13,000. The size of the force today stands at 13,010.
Seven thousand who applied for a job had fallen by the wayside by the time the first task online was set.
The job applications were made online and some of them did not bother taking the test while others started but did not complete it.
According to officials, the system is designed to dislodge incomplete applications.
The first test assessed verbal and abstract reasoning and also contained a questionnaire, which included "situational judgment" questions.
Less than 13,000 passed and they were divided up into three bands of 5,000, 2,000 and 5,000.
The first band of 5,000 then underwent another online test with a 96pc completion rate, while over 3,000 achieved a satisfactory standard.
The top 600 of that group were then invited to undergo a second phase at the Public Appointments Service headquarters and this week will complete further online and written tests.
The successful candidates will then be offered interviews, followed by medical examinations, before the July batch of recruits is selected.
The two-year training course has been overhauled and will now consist of an initial 32-week training programme at the college, followed by a two-week break and then 68 weeks based at selected garda stations to gain on-the-job experience.
While serving at the stations they will gradually be granted policing powers and will become attested members of the force.
At the end of the two years they will graduate as fully fledged gardai and assigned their permanent stations while also being awarded BA degrees in applied policing.
In line with a commitment given by Commissioner Martin Callinan, up to 7pc of each recruit class will be comprised of fluent Irish speakers, who will be assigned to stations in Gaeltacht areas.