Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has encouraged those from “minority and new communities” to apply for hundreds of new Garda jobs being offered under a fresh round of recruitment.
“In particular, I urge members of minority and new communities to consider applying so that the membership of An Garda Síochána will reflect the diverse communities that it serves,” she said.
Since Garda recruitment resumed in recent years after being halted under the public sector recruitment moratorium, the level of applicants from ethnic minority groups has been lower than 3 per cent; a steep decline over a decade.
Of the 18,435 applicants who took the first stage of tests during two years to join the Garda under the first wave of recommenced recruitment, only 418 – about 2.3 per cent – said they were from an ethnic minority background, according to the Public Appointments Service.
By contrast, 4,926 people took the initial exams in 2005 and 734 were non-Irish – almost 15 per cent. For both years, about 20 per cent did not give their backgrounds.
Announcing the opening of the latest round of recruitment this morning, Ms Fitzgerald said for the Government to meet its pledge to increase the number of gardaí to 15,000 by 2020, some 3,200 recruits needed to be hired.
The strength of the force fell below 13,000 for a period; a development senior Garda officers said diminished the standard of policing offered in the Republic.