Increasing Garda recruitment age welcome but fitness test must now be examined - O'Callaghan

Published on: 05 December 2023

Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Bay South Jim O'Callaghan, has welcomed cabinet approval to increase the recruitment age limit from 35 to 50 for members of An Garda Síochána.
The Party's spokesperson on Justice has been campaigning for a change in policy to allow recruits over the age of 35, for some time.
Deputy O'Callaghan said, "Unfortunately, there is a law and order problem in our cities and rural towns. We all watched the violence unfold in our city recently with deep concern and were horrified by the lawlessness and the rioting that occurred.
"Fianna Fáil in Government recognise the devastating impact crime has on both individuals and the wider communities. This can only be adequately confronted by Gardaí on the ground. High visibility policing can't and won't be met if we fail to tackle the recruitment crisis that An Garda Síochána are experiencing.
"Many people who have sedentary careers would be interested in joining the Gardaí but for some reason they don’t give consideration to it in their early 20s. However, people in their 30s and 40s looking for a career change should be targeted. We are missing out on potentially a huge cohort of people who could bring practical experience to the force. I believe increasing the age limit for joining the Gardaí, as announced by my colleagues in Government today, will go some way in addressing this issue and may result in increasing the pool of candidates applying for the next recruitment competition for An Garda Síochána which I understand is planned to launch next month.''
Deputy O'Callaghan who earlier this year completed and passed the pre entry Garda fitness test said he still believes the test is too demanding , out of step with other jurisdictions, is becoming a growing factor blocking recruitment and should be reviewed in the face of a recruitment crisis.
“I appreciate that a basic level of fitness is a prerequisite for a Garda but I believe the current test may be disqualifying those who have difficulty completing a strenuous obstacle course.
"A more sensible approach, in my view, would be to design the test to ascertain the candidate’s current level of fitness and an intensive programme be tailored accordingly on admission, should the recruit exhibit a baseline level of fitness.
"The Gardaí protect the most vulnerable in our communities. Without them, we have chaos and lawlessness. Every effort should be made to resolve this recruitment crisis without further delay.''