An Garda Síochána have launched a new campaign for recruitment with the age limit in applying to become a garda trainee increasing from 35 years to 50 years.
There will also be an increase to the gardaí training allowance with new recruits receiving €305 per week.
The gardaí have said these additions will provide a steady pipeline of garda trainees over the coming years and it is also intended that recruitment campaigns will now run annually.
At the end of 2023 there were 13,998 gardaí and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has previously commented on the need to meet the Government target of 15,000.
However there is a demand within the force to increase garda numbers even further due to population growth and the changing nature of crime.
In 2023, 746 people commenced training to be a garda with 388 gardaí now certified, with the next group of gardaí being certified in April 2024.
Launching the new campaign, Mr Harris said: “policing in an ever changing modern and diverse society presents challenges, but equally it affords us opportunities to grow, learn and adapt. This is why An Garda Síochána recognises it too needs to change to meet the needs and demands of the people of Ireland”.
Speaking about the increase to the age limit of applicants, Mr Harris said: “this provides people who may now want to be gardaí but thought the opportunity had passed or who are considering a change in career to join An Garda Síochána and make a real and lasting contribution to society.
The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee welcomed the call for new recruits saying she hopes and expects there will be a strong response to the campaign:
“As a Government we allocated the highest ever budget of €2.3 billion to An Garda Síochána for 2024. That included funding for between 800 and 1,000 new gardaí, and I hope, and indeed expect, that there will be a strong response to this campaign”.
Acknowledging recent changes made to the eligibility requirements and increased training allowance, Ms McEntee said she believed “we are opening up policing as a career option to a new cohort of people who will bring a range of different life and career experiences to the table”.