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Promotions of more than 400 gardai hit by court challenge delay

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Former acting commissioner Donall O Cualain

Former acting commissioner Donall O Cualain

Former acting commissioner Donall O Cualain

The promotion of hundreds of gardai to fill a "crisis" in numbers at sergeant level has been delayed because of a High Court challenge.

The Herald has learned that more than 400 gardai who were due to be promoted this month will now have to wait an indefinite amount of time.

Gardai have said that the delay is only temporary, and it is understood that a legal challenge being taken by a garda is the cause of the delay.

Despite an urgent need to boost numbers at a mid-ranking level, it is the second time the same competition process has been delayed.

The significant list of gardai to be promoted to sergeant rank was announced in an effort to increase numbers at supervisory level.

Currently the number of recruits graduating from Templemore and being sent to garda districts means there are not enough officers at sergeant rank to supervise them.

A High Court challenge brought in relation to the competitions process has caused a delay in the announcement of successful candidates.

It is understood that the legal challenge has been brought by a member of An Garda Siochana who unsuccessfully applied to be promoted to the rank of sergeant.

A senior source said that the force was seeking legal advice in relation to the matter and that the announcement of the results had been delayed.

"Members have been left particularly frustrated as sergeant roles need to be filled, as well as the fact that people initially applied for the interview process in July 2017," a source said.

The need for more gardai at supervisory level has been raised by oversight bodies, as well as former acting garda commissioner Donall O Cualain.

Crisis

In a statement, garda headquarters told the Herald: "The release of the results of garda to sergeant competition has been temporarily delayed. An Garda Siochana is aware of a potential High Court action."

Earlier this year, the low number of middle-ranking gardai within the organisation was described as a "crisis" by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI).

In its report released last week, the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland also called for supervision at sergeant level "to be strengthened".

It is the second time that the same competition process has been delayed in recent months.

Earlier this year, a directive was issued to gardai who applied for the rank of sergeant, informing them that the competitions had been postponed indefinitely.

"All garda to sergeant interviews from March 1, 2018, are hereby postponed until further notice," it stated.

The announcement of a delay in garda promotions follows the decision by garda management to cut overtime across the country.

Non-discretionary overtime was cut for gardai in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) as well as detectives attached to Special Crime Operations (SCO).

Armed patrols under Operation Hybrid, as well as overtime to fund patrols of Dublin Port, were also axed as a result of the directive issued on behalf of the garda commissioner last week.


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