More than 100 gardaí have been sworn in as new members of the force at the nation’s Garda College and will now be placed in Garda divisions throughout the country.
The 102 gardaí attested as sworn members on Thursday bring the strength of An Garda Síochána to 14,396 sworn gardaí, 401 Garda reserves, 3,345 Garda staff and 81 recruit gardaí currently in training.
38 of the new gardaí are women, while 16 were born outside the State in countries including England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Lithuania, Croatia, Poland, Angola, Guatemala, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand.
The new members of the force began their Garda training in September 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic and have undertaken a blend of online learning, on site learning at the Garda College and experiential learning in training Garda stations.
Speaking at today’s graduation ceremony at the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris commended the “personal strength and dedication” of the new recruits.
“The training to become a Garda is demanding under any normal circumstances. But undertaking the programme during the public health crisis will have made it all the more challenging for this intake of 102 trainees,” he said.
“Each one came forward to pursue a career in An Garda Síochána at a critical and uncertain time so from the very outset they have shown their ability and commitment to protecting the public.”
Mr Harris added that there is still “work to do” as the force remains predominantly male.
“In An Garda Síochána, we know that being more reflective of the diverse and inclusive society we serve will enhance our ability to provide an effective police service for all people,” he said.
“We have one of the highest levels of female police officers in Europe, but we recognise that there is still work to do.
“We have to continue encouraging women and those from diverse backgrounds to join An Garda Síochána. Close to 40 per cent of the new Gardaí passing out today are women. The 102 trainees represent 11 different nationalities including Saudi Arabia, Guatemala and Lithuania.
“During our recent recruitment campaign, we placed huge organisational effort on attracting candidates from a wide range of diverse backgrounds.
“We learned this month that over 11,000 people have applied to become a member of An Garda Síochána. There are positive signs too in the fact that roughly 40 per cent of applicants are women and there has been an increase in numbers applying across a range of ethnic backgrounds.”
It is vital that everyone in our society sees members of their own communities serving in An Garda Síochána
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee also attended the ceremony in Templemore, saying she was “delighted” to meet the newest members of the force in person.
“It is particularly special that these new members are joining in the year of the Garda centenary. These members will play an important role in shaping the second hundred years of the organisation. I wish them each the very best in their vital career keeping all of us safe,” she said.
“I want to commend Commissioner Drew Harris and the wider Garda organisation for the significant efforts that are being made to encourage diversity among members.
“It is vital that everyone in our society sees members of their own communities serving in An Garda Síochána – I wish a particular welcome to the 38 women attesting today as well as the 16 new gardaí born outside the State, including from Poland, Brazil, Ukraine and Lithuania amongst other countries.”