Tuesday, 22 November 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
An Garda Síochána
On behalf of the Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, I thank Deputy Stanton for raising this issue in the House. The Deputy will appreciate of course that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the allocation and distribution of resources. However, I can inform the Deputy it is anticipated that the Garda Reserve recruitment process will launch in the coming year. As the Deputy may already be aware, the launch of a new Garda Reserve recruitment campaign is a priority of the Garda Reserve Strategy 2021-2025, which is an important element of the Government’s plan to modernise and strengthen An Garda Síochána under the plan set out in A Policing Service for Our Future. The strategy is informed by an internal review of the Reserve and sets out key commitments including recruitment, training, development, deployment, governance and evaluation. A priority is the new recruitment campaign next year, on foot of which new reservists will be appointed for five years initially. The campaign intends to target a broad and inclusive range of candidates in keeping with the Reserve’s role as a visible form of community engagement. There is ongoing engagement between the Department, An Garda Síochána and the Public Appointments Service to ensure that the recruitment campaign is inclusive to diverse and under-represented groups with the intention of removing perceived barriers. An Garda Síochána recognises the Garda Reserve offers policing experience to a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds and communities. Fostering and increasing diversity and inclusion in An Garda Síochána will improve service delivery by harnessing the unique talents and life experiences of people from all backgrounds. I am advised that An Garda Síochána is utilising established outreach forums and recruitment campaigns in line with the organisation's workforce plan.
Consideration is also being given by An Garda Síochána to ensuring the Garda Reserve can serve as a pathway to future recruitment competitions for Garda members where individuals have a desire to progress on to that position. The strategy further aims to ensure that members of the reserve are fully supported by local Garda management and that the role is recognised and promoted throughout the organisation.
The Department of Justice is currently engaging with An Garda Síochána on revisions to the Garda Síochána (Reserve Members) Regulations, SI 413/2006 and governs the reserve ahead of the commencement of this recruitment process. The Garda Commissioner has established an implementation group and oversight committee to ensure the strategy delivers on its objectives. The Minister looks forward to working with him to increase the number of members of the reserve and realising its full potential as a valuable resource in visible policing and in providing a pathway to full-time membership of An Garda Síochána, including from minority communities.