'Gardaí are relying on dig-outs from their friends,' says recruit
A Garda recruit has explained their "disappointment, anger and utter dismay" at the treatment currently being received by newly appointed probationer gardaí.
The young garda tells of relying on dig-outs from friends or IOUs to make ends meet at the end of each month.
And they contrast this with the "head full of dreams" that youngsters have when they enter the gates of the Garda Training College in Templemore.
Under the terms of the garda code, drawn up by garda management, serving gardaí are prohibited from speaking publicly about their pay and conditions.
But the strongly-worded account was provided on an anonymous basis through the Garda Representative Association. It follows the Irish Independent's investigation into low paid workers in the public sector.
Gardaí start on €23,750 in year one, and after 10 years this rises to around €46,000. But even after 19 years, it's not a salary that's going to allow you to buy the average house.
The garda recruit writes: "The list of grievances I have seems to grow by the day.
"When we entered the (garda) college, we entered with our heads full of dreams. For many of us, walking through the iron gates of Templemore was a dream come true, a moment many had dreamed of from their youth when first they looked up to the local garda and decided that their future lay in that famous blue uniform and what it stood for.
"We entered the college and were welcomed with open arms. We were told day after day that we were the breath of fresh air the organisation needed.
"However, the reality we found in the working environment was far different to the picture painted to us in Templemore. We were quickly told that morale was at an all-time low in the force.
"Any expectations we had for lifting morale were soon dashed when the reality of our own personal situations hit home."
The recruit describes how young gardaí are unable to stand on their own two feet because of a lack of funds.
"Day after day, we report for work. Day after day, we face the same dangers as members 30 years our senior.
"Day after day, we hear them tell their own tales of woe, and, day after day, we sit there knowing that our situation is incomparable to theirs when they first left Templemore.
"Any chance of an independent life is completely scuppered."
High rent, fuel and living costs are blamed for eating into, and beyond, the monthly wage packet.
"It leaves little in your pocket at the end of the month other than an outstanding bill or an 'I owe you' to a friend or relative who has come to the rescue and bailed you out once more.
"The bright future I had in mind for myself as I walked back out through the gates of Templemore is now a distant memory," they added.
The young garda adds: "I think back to the day now that I looked up to the local garda and decided that my life was in the blue uniform.
"I hope now that nobody should look to me and aspire to be as I am now. I fear if they ask me and I speak the truth the chances of them ever walking through those iron gates of Templemore are slim to none."