Young Garda who left the force over low wages says all new recruits should “have another option"
Three newly qualified gardai have resigned from the force due to low wages, according to the Garda Representative Association (GRA).
One of those gardai spoke to George on the Right Hook today about his decision to quit the Gardai.
He said he decided to speak to George to help his colleagues who “aren’t allowed speak out about” the wage issue.
You can hear the full interview here:
He said the starting wage of €23,000 a year worked out as €303 euro a week and after paying Dublin rent and living costs “it didn't add up”.
“A common misconception is that Garda are very well paid, it's a job for life and you get this great pension. You have to work the 30 years to get to that pension... and the pension for the new recruits is much worse.”
George asked if always wanted to be a Garda to which he replied “It was something I looked forward to since I was a kid”.
On whether he knew the wages would be as low when he signed up; “You had an idea but you didn't have a definitive answer. You didn't realise you couldn't live on that, that was a big issue. It was highlighted to us that the rent allowance wasn’t there. To be living off 300 euro a week and to pay rent it didn't add up for me”.
“I left a good job to join the guards because it's something I always wanted to get into. I got in there and discovered that I was eating into my savings to be able to work in a job. So it was effectively costing me money.”
He said what finally made his mind up to leave the Gardai was not being able to pay for his grocery shopping; “the final straw that broke the camel's back was when I went to the ATM to pay for the weekly shop in Tesco and it came back “insufficient funds”'.
Reflecting on the physical risks of the job he said “Everyday in work you are pulling on a stab vest, you are pulling it on for a reason, there is a huge risk.”
He had this advice for young people planning joining the Gardai;
“Have another option because if it doesn't work out you don't want to get stuck in it”.
He is now working in the job he had before he joined the Gardai.
Over 24,000 people applied for the garda posts when they were announced in January 2014. In total 685 recruits have qualified and a further 150 are in training at Templemore College in Tipperary.