Exclusive: Graduating gardaí lose out on 'thousands of euro' after 'passing out' ceremony plans changed last minute
New recruits lose out after being forced to change and cancel holiday and celebration plans
The latest group of garda recruits who are due to graduate are furious after ceremony plans were changed last minute, allegedly to accommodate Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
Over 100 gardaí were due to 'pass out' on April 20 but were informed by the Garda College on Monday that this has been pushed back until April 24 to suit Minister Fitzgerald's schedule.
A source told Independent.ie that new recruits have lost out on "thousands of euro" after being forced to change and cancel holiday and celebration plans as a result.
Some family members and friends are also understood to have booked flights from overseas to attend the ceremony.
Now, due to the change of date, some people will no longer be able to attend.
The change of date was reportedly at the request of the Tánaiste, who could not attend on April 20. However, a spokesperson for the Justice Minister told Independent.ie that the scheduling of the ceremony "is a matter" for the gardaí.
The brief statement read: "The scheduling of the ceremony is a matter for An Garda Síochána."
The passing out ceremony traditionally celebrates the end of training for garda recruits.
Attendance at the ceremony is compulsory as garda recruits are required to sign an oath.
They are also officially presented with their badge.
Garda trainees receive an allowance of €184 per week for their first 32 weeks before they are attested.
Following the 'passing out' ceremony, gardaí begin their starting salary.
"It's ridiculous, normal colleges don't have to change official dates a few weeks beforehand to accommodate PR stunts, so why should gardaí," a family member of one trainee said.
"It's meant to be one of the best days of their lives and now the goodness has been taken out of it," they added.
Independent.ie is awaiting a response from the relevant department of An Garda Síochána.