The Garda Reserve Caper
Over three years ago, Michael McDowell, then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, was involved in a major controversy (among others) on the establishment of a Garda Reserve force of 4,000 members. He included provisions for this in the Garda Síochána Act of that year and faced down opposition from the Garda representative bodes on the issue. Now three years later, there are just 258 members of the Garda Reserve force, less than 6.5 per cent of the targeted figure. These are distributed around 30 stations in Dublin, seven stations in Cork and 40 other stations around the country. This works out at 3.35 Garda Reserve personnel per station.
Here is a target of 270 recruits for this year but it is obvious there is no chance of this happening. In February and March 2007, the Garda Commissioner appointed a Chief Superintendent and Superintendent to co-ordinate the management and promotion of the Garda Reserve. What they are doing is not at all clear.
The Garda Commissioner has initially determined that the duties of a Reserve member shall include the following: Station Duty, other than the care and custody of prisoners; Assistant to the Station Orderly; monitoring CCTV; foot patrol, accompanied by a member of the permanent Garda Service; and static security duty.