HomeNews‘Dads Army’ and ‘Yellow Pack’ Gardaí

‘Dads Army’ and ‘Yellow Pack’ Gardaí

The Gardaí are in disarray with low recruitment figures, 71 resignations from the force already this year and 172 retiring in the first six months of 2023. Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan reacted to this drain from the force by calling for the mandatory retirement age of 60 to be upwardly considered. He also wants to allow recruits over the age of 35 to join. How much over? “It’s not the only answer, but it’s a significant answer and that’s an important part of the solution” he told RTE News. Strangely, there was no mention of pay and conditions which were obliterated following the 2008 crash. The pay and conditions of new members was so reduced that their colleagues referred to them as “yellow pack Gardaí. His only suggested solution is of the “Dads Army” variety.

Pay and Conditions?

Justice Minister Helen McEntee whose income was raised several times in the intervening period admitted that Garda recruitment was not where the Government wanted it to be. The Department of Justice said a review of the Garda retirement age is under way. Garda sergeants and inspectors have also called for the age of retirement to be increased to over 60. Strangely there was no mention of a review of pay and conditions which is the elephant in the room. Almost 2,500 Gardaí will retire in the next ten year based on their years of service.

Dads Army is No Solution

Safety on the streets has become something of a major headache for the Government following a series of violent incidents in Dublin city centre with tourists as well as locals being attacked and mugged by marauding gangs of thugs terrorising the city centre due to the absence of Gardaí. Jim O’Callaghan’s “Dads Army” offers no solution and neither does Minister McEntee sticking plaster solution. McEntee announced €10 million to increase Garda visibility by providing for 240,000 extra Garda hours, or 20,000 extra Garda shifts, aimed at putting more Gardaí on Dublin City centre streets but that only suffices until the end of year. Its either more money, Dads Army or more lawlessness. The solution is obvious to everyone except the government. The only additional Gardaí visibility comes from their new uniforms with huge streaks of high vis yellow.

Anything but Pay and Conditions

Gardaí authorities spent almost €2.3 million providing psychological support to officers dealing with trauma as well as other mental health issues since 2020. The force paid around €867,000 to provide psychological and psychiatric services to its member.

An additional €1.4m was paid for independent counselling, logging over 11,400 calls since the beginning of 2020. That included specialised psychological support for those likely to encounter distress in their day-to-day work. The service is provided for those in the:

  • computer crime bureau,
  • the national protective services bureau,
  • divisional protective services units, and
  • specialist child interviewers.

All of which deal with graphic images, videos, evidence of child sexual or physical abuse.

The Gardaí haven’t all suddenly become wimps needing shoulders to cry on. They have all suddenly become under payed and under resourced. Better pay will solve both those issues and more besides. This is the force that went through the overspill of 30 years of war in the North without needing shoulders to cry on but then they received adequate remuneration.

Therapy Instead of Money

An Garda Síochána said there had been 842 counselling sessions of this type in 2021, the first year of the specialised service’s operation. Mental health issues have become a significant concern with nearly 480 members referred for psychiatric or psychological assessment, and other mental health issues between 2020 and 2021. The toll of stress and anxiety on Gardaí caused the loss of 11,176 working days in those two years. A 24/7 independent counselling service is available for all Gardaí, civilian staff, and reserves. Therapy and not money, anything but money is the order of the day.


Yellow Pack Gardaí

Despite all of this the rot is coming from deep inside the force with 107 members resigning from the force last year and that number is expected to be over 150 for 2023. Dissatisfaction with the changes in rostering hours, pay and conditions, lack of confidence in the hierarchy especially commissioner Harris who in an unprecedented poll was given less than a 2% satisfaction rate with more than 98% expressing their dissatisfaction with him. Despite this Minister Helen MacIntee expressed her complete satisfaction with the commissioner. Following the 2008 financial crash new members entering the Gardaí’s pay and conditions were so reduced compared to their colleagues that their older colleagues referred to them as “yellow pack Gardaí” and no wonder.


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