126 Garda recruits are to graduate from the Garda College in Templemore today. The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris are to attend the ceremony.
Minister McEntee is also preparing legislation to raise the age limit for joining the Gardaí from 35 to 50. In February of this year the Labour Court ruled that the age limit of 35 was discriminatory. The court ordered An Garda Siochana to pay €12,700 each to two men that took the case alleging discrimination.
The Garda fitness test is also going to be updated in line with the current age-related graduated system.
The Government has committed to bring the strength of An Garda Síochána up to 15,000, and after the group of 126 graduate today there will be a total of 14,032 Gardaí in Ireland. In an effort to boost Garda recruitment numbers, recruits will immediately be paid a higher weekly allowance following this week’s Budget. The trainee allowance will be €305 per week, up from the €184 weekly training allowance in place since 2011. Any Garda recruit in training will continue to receive €184 until the end of the year, when a backdated lump sum will be paid.
There has been no change to the retirement age of 60, which means a limited pension after ten years’ service – funding for Garda pensions is currently being examined by the Department of Public Expenditure.