400 gardai quit force in five years, with ‘burnout’ and ‘pressures on the frontline’ on the rise
- 16:20, 20 Oct 2022
- Updated: 16:22, 20 Oct 2022
The number of gardai quitting is at its highest level in at least five years with ‘burnout’ and ‘pressure on the frontline’ forcing many to resign.
Since 2018, around 400 gardai have handed in their notice to quit the force early, according to new figures.
Around 300 gardai retire each year, from a force of around 14,300 throughout the country.
But a further 399 have resigned before hitting retirement, in the past four years.
Brendan O’Connor, president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) told Newstalk several factors are at play.
He said: “The shortage of numbers, officer burnout, the pressure on the frontline.
“Basically, a lot of people are finding that An Garda Síochána just isn’t an attractive career and they’re giving it up.
“I suppose pensions and pay and conditions aren’t what they used to be when it was a job for life.
“There’s something seriously wrong when people are leaving.”
In 2019, it was revealed Ireland had one of the lowest police-to-population ratios in Europe with 278 gardai per 100,000 citizens, 40 less than the average EU country, which has 318 to 100,000.
Aontú leader Peadar Toibin also told Newtalk the number of resignations in the past five years is concerning.
“400 gardai is a significant number of gardai, given the fact that we already have a very low number of police in this country.
“Indeed, Ireland is one of the lowest policed countries in the EU at the moment,” he added.
There were 86 resignations in the first nine months of this year, suggesting the figure for 2022 will exceed 100.
Around €78million was set aside in the recent budget for the recruitment of up to 1000 new garda recruits and over 400 garda staff.
There was a further €5 million increase in the overtime budget for An Garda Síochána – to over €100 million – to support high visibility policing to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
Meanwhile, around 11,000 people applied to join the force in this years recruitment campaign for 800 gardai including many ‘more women from different backgrounds’ according to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.
It is expected that just under 500 will be in place by the end of the year.
McEntee explained in the Dail earlier this month that a number of measures are being taken to create a better working environment for force members.
She said: “We have a garda wellbeing app that is being developed, better internal communications, more transparent promotion processes”.