asked the Minister for Justice if he can state the cost of the Taca Síochána, and the type of duty which it is proposed it will perform.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - The Taca Síochána.
The position in this matter is as follows:—
The Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána has selected from the list of candidates for the Gárda Síochána the names of approximately 400 men who seem to him to have the best prima facie qualifications. These men have been invited to attend at Gárda Headquarters where they are at present being tested as to suitability. Those who pass the test, up to a maximum of 400, will be recruited as required as temporary Gárdaí under the title of the Taca Síochána. The will be paid at the late of £3 a week, will wear Gárda uniform, will serve under the Gárda officers, and will, in practice, be indistinguishable from the ordinary Gárdaí. It is intended to assign them to Gárda stations where they will perform ordinary police duties.
It is not intended to appoint any sergeants, inspectors, or higher officers in the temporary force.
As regards the financial side, it will be remembered that it was announced early this year that it was intended to recruit some 222 permanent Gárdaí. This recruitment has not taken place and will not now take place. So far as the present financial year is concerned, therefore, the position is, very roughly, that instead of having 222 additional Gárdaí throughout the year there will be an additional number of not more than 400 for half the year, so that the financial provision made at the beginning of the year will probably be adequate. In this connection I may say that every care will be exercised and every effort made to keep the numbers of the Gárda as low as circumstances will permit.
Am I to understand from the Minister's reply that it is perfectly clear this is not to be an armed force? It is going to be attached to the ordinary Gárdaí, and under the ordinary officers?
Would the Minister say whether there is an educational stipulation in regard to the recruiting of those persons? Is it necessary, for instance, to have a secondary or university education in order to secure admission to this new temporary force?
That is entirely a matter for the Commissioner, and he will take from amongst those who have applied the men whom he considers best suited for the position both physically and educationally. I think nobody could find fault, with him for that.
Would the Minister say if the non-possession of secondary or university education would disqualify a person from being recruited to this force?
I cannot say. What I say is that this is a matter for the Commissioner, who will select persons from the list completed some time last year. He will select them in a personal manner, picking them for their physical and educational qualifications. I suppose he will take the best men he can get, both physically and educationally, and who will blame him if he does?
The part of the scheme by which the sergeants and inspectors were to be new men also has been completely scrapped?
Yes. The intention was to bring into this temporary force some of the older inspectors and sergeants who had retired, but that has been scrapped It is not now intended to do so. The order itself will be issued shortly and everybody will know what the position is.
Is there any certainty with regard to the future service of those new recruits? So long as their discipline is good and all that, will they be retained, or will they be sent out again when this state of emergency ceases?
They are purely temporary.
Those men are being recruited under extraordinary conditions. They applied for admission to the Gárda force long ago, and it is a shame to ask men to come up here to do duty in an emergency if they are to be told to go home after a year or perhaps two years when the emergency ceases. I should like an answer from the Minister as to what is to become of those men.
It does not arise out of the question.
I should like to draw the Deputy's attention to the fact that more men have been recruited, possibly, than we will want to retain. Consequently, we cannot undertake to keep on men who will not be required. They are purely temporary.
Will a due proportion be taken from each county?
I cannot say that.
I think that system ought to prevail, and that every county should get an opportunity of supplying its quota.
I can assure Deputies that the Commissioner is dealing with this matter himself. Where they are to be taken from is a matter for him. He will take the best men he can get.
If he does not try to get them from other places how does he know they are the best?
Will knowledge of Irish be a qualification?
It certainly will be.
An essential qualification?
Just like the new Minister and Parliamentary Secretary— Gaelgeóirí from birth.
Is the Minister aware that some of the people called for interview are doing work of another kind at the present time, roast watching and work of that kind, and are unable to get leave? Will he provide facilities for them to attend the interview?
That matter will be taken into consideration.
Will the Minister say whether there will be a Supplementary Estimate in this matter?
That is a separate question.