20 May 2022

Irish language not needed in major Garda recruitment drive

New Irish, women and minorities urged to apply

Newly graduated gardai celebrate at the recent Garda Passing Out Ceremony in Templemore Picture: Press 22

Newly graduated gardaí celebrate a Garda Passing Out Ceremony in Templemore Picture: Press 22

The Minister for Justice and Garda Commissioner have urged anyone who wants to join An Garda Síochána to apply for a position in the policing service as she opens a new recruitment campaign which envisages the hiring of some 1,200 guards and support staff.

Launching the campaign Minister Helen McEntee said that the Government is increasing the number of Gardaí on the streets.

As of January 2022, there are 14,539 garda members. A statement from her department said Budget 2022 has provided for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí and 400 Garda staff this year and many of those recruited will be drawn from this competition.

The competition is the first held since new Regulations were introduced, amending the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 2013, to allow for a broader appeal for service with the force to reflect the increasing diversity of Irish Society.

The competition, which is open until 3pm on Wednesday, March 16 2022, is seeking to attract candidates from across society and with a wide-variety of skills to join. The campaign recruitment slogan is – The Difference is You.

 of An Garda Síochána and there is a Government commitment to increase this by an additional 800 new Garda recruits in 2022.

The competition is being supported by an advertising campaign under the slogan of – The Difference is You.

In addition to technical amendments required to reflect changes in legislation from the Refugee Act 1996 to the International Protections Act 2015, the requirement for applicants to be proficient in two languages, one of which must be English or Irish, has also been changed. Under the amended regulations, proficiency is now only required in one language – which can be English or Irish.

A statement said Garda Síochána remains committed to the Irish language and studies in the Irish language will remain part of the Policing BA delivered to all trainee Gardaí in the Garda College, Templemore.

It added that a new Irish Language Strategy has been developed by and will be launched early this year. The Strategy aims to strengthen Irish language services within the force and ensure compliance with statutory language obligations.

Successful applicants will be placed on a panel from which they are drawn by the Gardaí for training when required by the Garda Commissioner. The last recruitment competition was held in early 2019.

The Department of Justice says the Gardaí, supported by the Government, will be reaching out to all of Irish society – English and Irish speakers; women and men; migrant, Traveller and LGBTI+ people – encouraging them to think about a career in the Gardaí.

A new intern programme recently saw 26 school leavers and graduates provided with the opportunity to begin a year-long paid internship as Garda staff. 

Full details on how to apply can be found on

Minister McEntee urged members of new Irish communities, women and people from minority groups to consider a career in the guards.

“This recruitment campaign is of particular significance as we this year celebrate 100 years of An Garda Síochána. There has never been a better time to join the Gardaí as we work towards a policing service for the future that is valued for the essential public service it provides.

“A cornerstone of the vital work of An Garda Síochána is its engagement with communities and my hope is that we can have a policing service that is as diverse as the communities it serves.

“I urge anyone who wants to join An Garda Síochána to apply, but I want to particularly encourage women to consider a career with the Gardaí. Significant efforts have been made to increase the proportion of women in the service, and we are ahead of many other countries, but we still have a long way to go.

“Equally, I want to encourage people from our new Irish communities and minority groups to consider applying for what is a worthwhile and valued career.

“I welcome the fact that the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, is focused on creating a policing service which values equality, diversity and inclusion because it is so important that every person in the country feels that they are reflected in the Garda members they see on the street or in their local station.

“Of course, we want a policing service that is diverse not only in gender and ethnicity, but also in socio-economic and geographical background. I would encourage all those with an interest in joining to visit and to consider applying.”

Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris said: "For 100 years, An Garda Síochána has been keeping the people of Ireland safe and as we begin marking our organisation’s centenary this week it is particularly fitting for us to be able open up recruitment.

"Ireland is changing, and is more diverse and multi-cultural than ever before. We want our police service to fully reflect this important progress and to represent all the communities that we proudly serve. That is why our recruitment drive is focused on encouraging those who may not have previously considered training to become a Garda.

"We are very keen to break down some of the barriers that may have been deterring people of every ethnicity, minority background, religious identity or none from applying to become a Garda. In previous recruitment campaigns, proficiency in two languages was required. For this campaign, proficiency will only be required in one language – which can be English or Irish.

"Being more reflective of the society we serve will enhance our ability to provide an effective police service for all people. While we have one of the highest levels of female police officers in Europe, we fully recognise that this is not replicated when it comes to minority communities.

"There will be a significant focus in our recruitment campaign in reaching out to groups and individuals from these communities to encourage them to join An Garda Síochána. We know we have a lot of work to do in this area.

"An Garda Síochána has long attracted highly capable people to pursue a role in policing, who steadily build up a highly rewarding career in the organisation at various levels. Becoming a Garda is a chance to make a real difference in communities. We want people from all backgrounds to join us and make that difference.

"I am encouraging all those with excellent interpersonal skills or a unique skillset, a strong sense of community and those who are enthusiastic about making a real difference to people’s quality of life, to apply before 3pm Wednesday, March 16th 2022 because the difference is you,” said Commissioner Harris.

Her Department said the Garda Commissioner has put a welcome focus on equality, diversity and inclusion. This has included changes to Garda uniform policy, the establishment of the Garda National Diversity Forum, and representation from diverse and minority communities in the Garda Reserve. An Garda Síochána are working to produce a combined internal and external Equality, Diversity and Integration Strategy in early 2022.


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