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Almost a third of gardaí who left the force last year resigned rather than retired, says GRA

 • Yesterday 19:06

Almost a third of gardaí who left the force last year resigned rather than retired, it can be revealed.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has released information from exit interviews it carried out from gardaí who left the force in recent months.

Garda Tara McManus outlined some of the organisation’s concerns at a press conference that was held in Westport, Co Mayo, this evening, ahead of the GRA’s 45th annual conference which opens tomorrow.

The organisation which represents 12,500 frontline gardaí said that almost a third of all gardaí leaving the force last year were resignations rather than retirements.

They are calling for official “exit interviews” for people who have resigned from the force to establish the reasons why with 41 gardaí have resigned already this year.

But in the meantime, the GRA has conducted its own interview with resigning members –  22 in total which comprised of 12 men and 10 women.

None of those interviewed would recommend a career in An Garda Síochána after their experiences and none felt that Garda management recognised their contributions.

Gda McManus outlined that the top three reasons for resigning were bullying, work-related stress and unfair treatment or discipline from management.

She told reporters that this included bullying from management from inspector rank right up to chief superintendent rank.

When asked did their mental and physical health suffer from working as garda, 15 cited mental health reasons, three physical and one person said both.

The vast majority of those who were interviewed after they resigned had less than five years of service. Only one garda who resigned had over 20 years’ experience.

Meanwhile the issue of serious assaults on gardaí will be a major topic of the conference with the GRA saying that there was an almost 20pc rise in serious assaults in 2022 – 285 last year compared to 243 in 2021.

With over 100 gardaí currently suspended from duty, GRA president Brendan O’Connor described the suspension of these officers as a “very blunt instrument”.

He told reporters that some officers are cleared after periods of around five years where they have been left in limbo and to languish and come back to work with their “mental health in tatters” despite being ultimately vindicated of any wrongdoing.

Mr O’Connor described the Garda disciplinary system as “very unfair” which he said was devastating to the suspended garda and their family in a situation which can lead to reputational damage and stigma – even after they have been exonerated sometimes after a lengthy period of time.

It was also revealed at the press conference that trainee gardaí are only being paid €184 a week for the first eight months of their work in the force which equates to €4 an hour.

This payment does not just relate to when they are being trained in Templemore College but also when they spend 10 weeks deployed at garda stations which may not be anywhere near where they live.

The GRA believe this is a “contributing factor” in the struggle to recruit new candidates for the gardaí and describe it as “a ridiculous situation” and “not an attractive job”.

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