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Garda College in Templemore Is Safe – Dermot Ahern

Confirmation from the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern that the Garda College in Templemore is safe, has been received by Independent Deputy Michael Lowry. Mr Lowry sought the assurances after local Templemore Town Councillors spoke of ‘rumours of imminent closure’ due to the current recruitment embargo. However operations at the college are expected to be cut back.

Templemore Garda Training College

Plans for the 220-acre site at Clonmore, latter situated close to Templemore, Thurles, Co.Tipperary, which was ear marked for use as a firearms and as a tactical training facility three years ago, for €5.5 million, still remain on hold.

Minister Ahern assured Mr Lowry that the College would “not be closed for any period of time not withstanding the current recruitment embargo and the college will remains an integral part of the infrastructure of An Garda Síochána. It will continue to be used to train and up skill existing members of the force.”
Deputy Lowry communicated this information to a specially convened meeting of Templemore town Councillors and North Tipperary Oireachtas representatives in Templemore town hall on Monday night.

The Chief Superintendent Mr Jack Nolan, in charge of the college, has already assured all permanent staff at the college that their positions are safe. There is a problem with the positions of some of the catering staff at the college as they are not officially on the Department of Justice payroll, but a solution is currently being sought.

Deputy Lowry Stated:-

” While undoubtedly I would prefer new recruits to be going through the college and onto our streets, the current embargo gives the Gardaì the opportunity to engage in further training and up skilling for its current personnel. The main problem the force is experiencing at present is the retirement of senior members, and the vacuum of expertise and leadership that this has left. The recruitment freeze allows the Garda College the capacity to allow the training of existing officers for more senior and specialised roles, so that some of this deficit can be addressed.”

All eyes will now be focused on the implementation of changes to garda work practices recommended in last week’s report by the Garda Chief Inspector, former Boston police commissioner Kathleen O’Toole, to see if these changes will in any way effect the college’s future.

Chief Inspector O’Toole, in her recent published report, entitled ‘Resourse Allocation‘, recommends that advantage should be taken of future opportunities to acquire civilian staff with the required skills who may become available through increased mobility across the public service. Future recruitment of police officers should be linked to progress towards achieving an initial minimum target ratio of one member of police staff to every three serving police officers.

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