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Friday 23 March 2018

No more Garda recruits for two years sparks outrage

Rosemary O'Grady

The Government's new policy decision to stop recruiting gardai has drawn widespread criticism from garda representative bodies and the local community in Templemore, Co Tipperary.

As the last 126 gardaí graduate from the training college in Templemore this week, the shock news emerged that there will be no new recruits for at least two years.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (ASGI) described the decision as "a serious mistake," claiming it will take the youth and vitality from a force which is already losing experienced senior members through early retirements.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny's government of "gambling with the safety of citizens and the security of the State to save money”.

Deputy general secretary, John Redmond said that while the Templemore centre would still be used for on-going training, a reduction was now taking place in the teaching and civilian staff numbers.

He said one of the significant growth issues in Ireland was crime and questioned if the country could be run by 13,000 gardai when a few years ago it was suggested there should be 16,000 members. It meant Ireland had fewer gardai per head of population, with a ratio of one to 346 here compared to one to 314 in other European countries.

"I think it is a mistake. I think it is shortsighted. We also have a problem with garda promotions. Some were promised this but haven't got it," he added

He accepted that there was a need for cutbacks in the overall scheme of the country's finances, but pointed out that a society deserved to be policed properly. He claimed that significant numbers of senior gardai were "rushing out the gate" because of the cutbacks to the force.

Business people in Templemore also lashed the Government decision, pointing out that the Garda College is the second largest employer in the North Tipperary region. They say it will devastate a town already suffering in a recession.

The Templemore Traders Association chairman Martin Gray claimed the absence of students and the running down of the college will cost the local economy in the Co Tipperary town millions of euro in trade and job losses. Many businesses in the town already have put staff on a three day week because of the cutbacks.

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