Almost a quarter of the gardaí who left the force last year resigned rather than retired, figures from the Irish Independent show.
Arda management has been accused of providing figures to the police department that do not accurately reflect the number of gardaí and sergeants actually available for work.
An Garda Síochána recently ran a recruitment drive to bring up to 800 more people into the force. But the Garda Representative Association (GRA) says the recruitment drive will not be enough to make up for the numbers lost through absenteeism, retirement and resignation.
figures from the seen Irish Independent Show 404 Gardaí left the force in 2021, but just over 90 of them resigned from their posts rather than retire.
In the first quarter of this year, 120 Gardaí left the force, 95 through retirement and 25 through resignation.
Gardaí can retire after 30 years of service or after reaching age 60, but many choose to leave early and the GRA says issues related to low morale need to be addressed.
Damien McCarthy, the GRA representative for Dublin South Central, called on the government to set up a review group.
“These numbers don’t surprise me. The next public safety crisis is upon us and we cannot handle it with the current numbers,” he said.
“More people are leaving than to An Garda Síochána.”
Mr McCarthy also said there are not enough new recruits to replace Gardaí who are promoted to higher ranks.
“Every once in a while, positions will be advertised in different departments and gardaí will apply, be interviewed and accepted, and then be put on a list to fill that role,” he said.
But there are Gardaí who applied 18 months ago for positions that are still on lists and the lists expire after a period of time and the process has to start over. What does that do to a person’s morale? They might think twice about trying to advance their career next time and see better opportunities for themselves off the force.”
Another GRA official, Colin McCormack, branded the exit rate, particularly among young Gardaí, as “ridiculous”.
“Last year, 94 Gardaí resigned compared to 41 in 2017,” he said.
“The problem is that we are losing young members and we don’t know why. You walk out the door without being asked.
“What we are asking is that people who are either retiring or stepping down after 30 years of service are asked why, what could be done to encourage them to stay and to address these issues going forward.”
The GRA also criticized the figures in the Garda Commissioner’s monthly report to the police department, saying Garda management includes the number of sick, injured and suspended members in the force’s “available strength” when in fact they are unavailable.
Figures provided to the police department show that Gardaí’s “available strength” as of February 28 was 14,050. But from February 2021 to February 2022, the average number of gardaí and sergeants unavailable for duty each month due to “common illness” was 1,370, and the average number per month unavailable for duty due to injury , was 174.
There are also between 90 and 100 Gardaí on suspension.
When asked if the “available forces” number given in the monthly report included the numbers on sick leave and suspensions, a Garda spokesman said it goes without saying. This led to criticism from the GRA.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/garda-exodus-nearly-a-quarter-leaving-force-are-resigning-rather-than-retiring-41520933.html Exodus at Lake Garda: Almost a quarter of the departing forces are resigning rather than retiring