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Historic day as An Garda Síochána reaches highest number of members since foundation of the state

It’s absolutely not the circumstances anyone wanted to see it in, but today is a historic day for An Garda Síochána as the organisation reaches its highest numbers of sworn members since the foundation of the State.

Following the attestation of 319 new Gardaí (195 from intake 193, and 124 from intake 201) in an Attestation Ceremony at the Garda Training College, Templemore, An Garda Síochána has grown to an organisation of 14,758, the largest number of sworn Gardaí in the history of the State.

The newly attested Gardaí are part of An Garda Síochána’s range of measures to maximise our operational availability and support other vital public services in responding to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

“They will be on the streets assisting with their senior colleagues as the emergency requires,” said Minister for Justice and Laois-Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan earlier this week.

“The rosters have been changed to increase availabilty. Annual leave has been restricted and extra garda vehicles are already on the streets to the order of an extra 200 vehicles drafted in to assist the current fleet.”

Following the attestation of the new members of An Garda Síochána, the strength of the organisation stands at:

  • 14,758 Garda members of all ranks
  • Largest number of Garda rank (12,051)

The newly attested Gardaí will be assigned to the Regions as follows:

  • Dublin Region – 65 new Gardaí assigned
  • Eastern Region – 94 new Gardaí assigned
  • Southern Region – 80 new Gardaí assigned
  • North Western Region – 80 new Gardaí assigned

In addition to the newly attested Gardaí, An Garda Síochána has implemented a number of prudent organisational changes across the organisation.

Some of these changes include amendments to rosters, restricted annual leave, delaying retirements where possible, hiring an additional 210 community support vehicles and the redeployment of personnel including 124 personnel from the Garda Training College, who have been redeployed across all four Regions.

Garda members working as tutors/instructors in the Garda College will be redeployed at Garda, Sergeant and Inspector level to operational duties or essential training services in the following regions:

  • Dublin Region – 7 personnel redeployed
  • Eastern Region – 59 personnel redeployed
  • Southern Region – 56 personnel redeployed
  • North Western Region – 2 personnel redeployed

The combined organisational changes result in a 25% uplift in Garda personnel resources being made available to support communities in the weeks and months ahead as we deal with the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.

Commissioner Harris has designated the ongoing situation as an “exceptional event” in accordance with the Working Time Agreement.

At this time there has been no change to the role of Special Tactics & Operations Command (STOC), Special Crime Operations and Detective/Drugs Units nationwide.

Whilst contingency planning is in place, these units continue to support the community and Garda colleagues with a range of specialist services.

Last week, Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security John Twomey established the Garda National Co-ordination Unit. Headed by a Chief Superintendent, its role is to ensure a co-ordinated approach when dealing with organisational issues around the COVID-19 virus.

Deputy Commissioner Twomey chairs a daily meeting of this Unit via teleconference with the heads of the Garda organisation to discuss the latest issues arising from the COVID-19 situation and An Garda Síochána’s response to keep people safe.

SEE ALSO – Minister Charlie Flanagan on early release of prisoners, extra gardai and extra legislation if needed

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.