260 Garda trainees and instructors/tutors being released to front-line policing.

The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has thanked the total of 260 Garda trainees and instructors being deployed today from the Garda College in Templemore as part of the national policing plan to support the public health guidelines to suppress the spread of COVID-19.

Minister McEntee said;

I would like to thank the women and men of An Garda Síochána for their continued exemplary response in policing the pandemic. An Garda Síochána has taken extensive action in support of the public health guidelines since the outset of the pandemic. The additional trainees and instructors today released to frontline policing will play an important role in helping support implementation of the public health guidelines during the Level 5 period and I would like to thank all of them for the vital work which they will be doing to help suppress the virus.

As part of An Garda Síochána’s policing plan in support of Level 5 of the Framework of Restrictive Measures, training in the Garda College will be suspended for the next nine weeks except for specialist training activity (firearm and armed support). This will release large numbers of personnel to front-line policing including:

  • 125 attested Garda trainees currently undertaking phase one training in the Garda College;
  • 75 Garda trainees not attested undertaking phase one training; and
  • 60 Gardaí working as tutors/instructors in the Garda College (out of a cohort of 80 Gardaí).

This in addition to the 45 Gardaí who temporarily transferred from the Garda College to the front-line at the start of the pandemic and who have remained on front-line duty.

The Minister added;

COVID-19 remains a real threat to all of us and in particular to our most vulnerable citizens. This is a critical time for our country and we all have a responsibility to comply with the public health guidelines and regulations for the good of everyone.

The graduated policing response adopted by Gardaí, where Garda members engage, educate, encourage and only as a last resort enforce the relevant emergency regulations has served the public well and builds on the core value of An Garda Síochána of policing by consent. This will continue throughout this vitally important period.

The trainees being released to aid in the policing of this phase of the pandemic will return to the Garda College to complete their training early in the new year.


An Garda Síochána has adopted a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Garda members engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.

  • Since the commencement of COVID restrictions, there has been a general decrease in crime. However, some categories have increased as follows:
    • Domestic Abuse (necessitating the introduction of Operation Faoiseamh in conjunction with other statutory agencies and voluntary bodies in support of victims of domestic abuse)
    • Controlled Drugs (simple possession)
    • Weapons & Explosives offences (possession of offensive weapons)
    • Cybercrime/on-line fraud

Garda COVID Operations:

  • Operation Navigation – focuses on compliance with public health regulations by licensed premises.
  • Operation Fanacht – nationwide policing operation focused on supporting public compliance with public health measures.
  • Operation Faoiseamh – preventing loss of life and ensuring that victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected during the COVID emergency.


In view of the ongoing Garda operation and the nature of the temporary powers, robust independent oversight of policing and human rights is essential.  The Minister has requested the Policing Authority to report on a regular basis on the policing of COVID-19, with particular reference to Garda implementation of the Regulations made by the Minister for Health.  The Authority engage with other statutory bodies as well as with the many NGOs operating in the area of civil and human rights.

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