Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins has noted the fact that the Government has finally agreed to allow a special stream for members of the Garda Reserve applying for posts in the new Garda recruitment campaign for next year.

Deputy Collins has consistently made the case for recognition of the voluntary work undertaken by Garda Reserves who want to become full members of the force.

Deputy Collins said: “This is an important element of the Garda Recruitment campaign next year.  Members of the Garda Reserve play an extremely important role in assisting gardaí on a daily basis and bolstering community presence.  I believe this work should be credited and count positively towards an application for the new garda posts.

“The Minister said today that “in addition to an Irish language stream, [the campaign will] include a special stream for eligible members of the Garda Reserve who give their time on a voluntary basis to support the work of An Garda Síochána.”  I am pleased the Minister has finally seen sense on this but I think she needs to clarify what status will apply to reserves who apply through for the new positions.

“The Minister has clearly seen the sense in rewarding the work of Reserves, many of whom took on the role to help bolster their experience for full-time positions when recruitment resumed.  I welcome the Minister’s late conversion to this idea and I know it will be very well received by hundreds of garda reserves who plan on applying for position in the force.”

Deputy Collins concluded: “As of the end of September the strength of the Garda Reserve was 1,014 and there were an additional 21 Reserves in training. The principal role for Reserves consists of local patrols and crime reduction initiatives in both urban and rural areas.  This has been a very important structure of our policing regime since it was introduced by a Fianna Fáil-led Government almost 10 years.”