Age Limit for Garda Recruits Extended to 50

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Garda Siochana na hEireann

The age limit for joining An Garda Síochána will be extended from 35 to 50.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee told Morning Ireland that she has worked with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris on the decision, which will allow more people to join the force.

Ms McEntee plans to bring the proposal to government for approval soon.

This comes in response to waning Garda numbers as recruitment targets have been repeatedly missed in recent years. The government has now aimed to bring the strength of the force up to 15,000 members.

The garda fitness test will also be adjusted, allowing for age-related differences in ability, but the minister said “everybody will still have to do a fitness test.”

Ms McEntee said that the “unprecedented” €2.3 billion allocated to An Garda Síochána in the budget will allow government to ensure a high level of recruits moving through the training college.

Garda training allowance has also been increased, meaning recruits will earn two thirds more than previously.

“Nothing is off the table to support the gardaí and the work they are doing. It’s my job to support them in every way that we can,” Ms McEntee said.

The minister also said the retirement age of 60 should be adjusted, as people are living longer.

“I want to change it and I’m in discussions with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to do that. We haven’t reached a conclusion but that is where I hope to get,” she said.

In relation to the recent controversy over Garda recruits being sent home from Templemore and told to remove tattoos, Ms McEntee insisted that it was not her place to comment.

126 graduates are due to pass out from the Garda training college in Templemore today, bringing the current number of Gardaí to 14,032.