Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that although the volume of people applying for the 250-300 garda recruit positions shows a very strong interest it is not yet clear how many are aware of the reduced rates of pay and conditions that have been imposed on the garda recruit salary. Deputy McGrath was speaking after being asked to support a public awareness campaign aimed at highlighting the fact that the previous pay rate of €27,000 with a €4,000 rent allowance contribution, now stands at just €23,000 with no rent allowance contribution at all.
“I highly commend the fact that we are once again recruiting new members of the Gardaí in the face of an appalling four year freeze on recruitment that has done considerable damage to the provision of effective policing in this State. I am less enthusiastic however about the new cuts which are now in force and which will effectively exclude a very large proportion of people who have partners or children to help provide for.
“That being said, the loss of the rent allowance subsidy which was vital given the fact that new recruits never know where they might be posted will undoubtedly create hardship for those who pass through the recruitment process.
According to Deputy McGrath, there is another side to this however, and that is that the volume of up to 20,000 people who have applied for the limited amount of positions makes it clear that for many of them the primary concern is probably a stable income and less about the kind of commitment that a Garda needs in terms of enforcing law and order.
“While this is highly understandable given the climate we are now in, we must accept that this has the capacity to cause problems down the line. The fact is however that this is a situation brought about entirely by the recruitment ban over the last number of years. I would hope that the Minister for Justice would give some assurances that these level of cuts will not be met with future reductions so that those are prepared to do difficult and challenging frontline work like the Gardaí can afford to live on a decent wage,” he said.