A ban on over-35s applying to become Gardaí should be lifted to encourage more potential recruits, according to one Fine Gael TD.
Fine Gael Justice Spokesperson Alan Farrell TD said the current age limit is unfair and contributes to the current shortage of Gardaí in Ireland.
“The age of 35 is very arbitrary,” he told Newstalk. “There’s some very perfectly able-bodied men and women in Ireland who would be perfectly capable of carrying out the duties of a member of An Garda Síochána.”
The legislation governing recruitment to An Garda Síochána states that the maximum age at which a person may apply to join as a full-time member is 35.
In February of this year, the Labour Court ruled the limit is unlawful and was discrimination on the grounds of age.
It said reforming this regulation is “essential”, but the decision by the Labour Court has been appealed against by An Garda Síochána.
Incentives for Gardaí recruitment
In a statement released earlier today, Deputy Farrell said every effort needs to be made to attract more people to join An Garda Siochána.
“With a full economy and jobs plentiful, recruiting for An Garda Síochána has proven difficult,” he said. “We have to ensure there are better incentives.
“It is clear a change in how attractive the training package is should be considered.”
Deputy Farrell said the Government should increase the current weekly training allowance from €184 “to reflect the cost of living”.
“An increase can make a big difference in people’s lives while they undergo training for their new profession,” he said.
“[Justice] Minister [Helen] McEntee and Fine Gael are working to ensure stronger, safer communities and such a move would ensure more men and women join the proud ranks of An Garda Síochána.”
Garda Representation Association President Brendan O’Connor previously told Newstalk a poll it conducted showed only 27% of people would recommend a career in An Garda Síochána to close family or friends.
“From places like Inch to Dublin, falling Garda numbers are really impacting on the service available to the public," he said.