The final group of 126 student Gardai will graduates from the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, next Thursday and there will now be no new students in training, due to the moratorium on recruitment with effect from that date.
Presently, there is no indication when any further new students will begin training at the Templemore college and fears are being expressed that experienced Garda officers nationally will now begin leaving the Republic’s force in the coming months.
Present Gardai, employed here in the Republic, are also expected to be attracted by a new recruitment campaign, targeting their members, by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) who are launching a campaign designed to attract senior officers from existing police forces both in England and the Irish Republic, thus providing an increased policing service in the North to effectively meet current terrorist threats. Financing of this new recruitment drive, by the PSNI is being provided by an additional grant of €245m to the PSNI earlier this year, to assist the Northern Ireland force in combating serious security threats, posed by criminal dissident republicans.
This student vacuum created at the Templemore College is now expected to result in a redeployment of some experienced training officers and other staff, who will be offered operational duties elsewhere, while the immediate future of the college will be become dependant on ‘In Service ‘ and ‘Pre Retirement Courses,’ providing some work for the few remaining full-time personnel.
The Republic’s overall Garda Force now stands at 14,000 and the Government have confirmed their intention to reduce this number by up to 1,000 members by 2014.
Templemore and Thurles view this situation as a serious financial blow to both town’s local economies.