Historic day as An Garda Síochána reaches highest number of sworn members since foundation of state
There are now just under 15,000 members of An Garda Síochána in Ireland.
An Garda Síochána will reach its highest numbers of sworn members since the foundation of the state in 1922 today (20 March), following the implementation of measures to help the fight against the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland.
At a ceremony at the Garda Training College in Templemore on Friday, 319 new Gardaí will be attested, bringing the total number of members in Ireland to 14,758 (of all ranks), 12,051 of which are Garda rank.
The newly attested Gardaí are part a range of measures to maximise the force’s availability and to support other vital public services in responding to the evolving Covid-19 situation in Ireland.
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
Garda members working as tutors/instructors in the Garda College, meanwhile, 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 to deal with the impact of coronavirus in Ireland.
Other measures implemented by An Garda Síochána to combat the spread of the virus 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 as outlined above.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has designated the ongoing situation as an "exceptional event” in accordance with the Working Time Agreement.
For now, there has been no change to the role of Special Tactics & Operations Command (STOC), Special Crime Operations and Detective / Drugs Units nationwide. While contingency planning is in place, these units will 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.