More than 300 trainee police to graduate early to boost Garda numbers

More than 300 new Irish police will be deployed to stations nationwide to help respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

The trainees will bring the Garda’s numbers to its highest level of almost 15,000.

They are moving to the front line at an earlier point in their training than they would have anticipated due to the current “unprecedented” circumstances, justice minister Charlie Flanagan said.

Irish government cabinet meeting
They are moving to the front line at an earlier point than they would have anticipated due to the current “unprecedented” circumstances, justice minister Charlie Flanagan said (Brian Lawless/PA).

Mr Flanagan said: “The 319 new gardai will be deployed to Garda stations nationally in the coming weeks, where their presence will maximise the operational availability of An Garda Siochana and its ability to support other vital services in response to Covid-19.

“An Garda Siochana has always been defined by a deep connection to community, a connection which, in almost 100 proud years of the organisation, has never been more badly needed.

“I want to assure those who are vulnerable, alone or afraid, you can count on our gardai. They will be there to reassure you and to help you.”

At Friday’s attestation ceremony in Templemore, Co Tipperary, Mr Flanagan will also commend the 124 members who are redeploying from their duties in the policing college to front-line policing.

The ceremony will be brief and will observe social distancing protocols.

There will be short speeches by the minister and the Garda Commissioner, but unlike normal ceremonies, no families will attend.

Mr Flanagan will say: “Your experienced colleagues and supervisors will be on hand to guide you.

“The Government will not be found wanting in our financial support to the organisation.

“And I urge you to take strength too from the certainty that the community supports you.”

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