Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Questions (165)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

267 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if there are plans to introduce a programme or campaign of targeted recruitment of ethnic minorities to the ranks of the Garda Síochána; if not, his views on whether such a programme would be appropriate and beneficial to Ireland’s increasingly diverse and multicultural society; and if he will raise this matter with the Garda Commissioner. [25727/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

Entry to the Garda Síochána is governed by the provisions of the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 1988, as amended.

In connection with my recent announcement of the Government's intention to increase the strength of the Garda Síochána to 14,000 and as part of the preparation for the upcoming recruitment campaign, I have taken the opportunity to ask the Garda Commissioner to review the eligibility criteria for entry to the Garda Síochána. This is an opportune moment to ensure that the criteria for entry meet the needs of the Garda Síochána and the society they serve. One particular aspect which I know the commissioner has already studied is the maximum age of entry but there may be other criteria which would benefit from review. It is right, for example, that future intakes of recruits to the Garda Síochána should, as far as possible, reflect the composition of Irish society and I am anxious to see if there are any possible changes to the existing criteria which might facilitate recruitment from different ethnic backgrounds in our community.