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Garda chief defends reserve force

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has defended his reserve force after demands from rank and file officers for its abolition.

The police chief insisted there was a "groundswell" of support for the reservists despite claims by full-timers that they were "baby-sitting" and "mollycoddling" the part-timers.

"I'm very much supportive of the Garda Reserve," said Mr Callinan.

"It's not there as a threat to sworn members of the force, who enjoy my absolute confidence. They are there to assist."

Dismissing remarks made at the Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference, Mr Callinan said the relationship between the reserves and the full-timers was going well.

"They have a limited role to play and they're doing a very, very fine job," he added.

The GRA voted unanimously to seek the abolition of the Garda Reserve during its conference in Westport, Co Mayo.

Officers complained that the unpaid part-timers were costing up to €4m a year, which they said could be spent on recruiting more than 100 new full-timers.

The Garda Reserve was set up in 2005.

It is expected to reach its target of 1,400 recruits - a 10th of the size of the full-time force - by next year.

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