The Garda Síochána is the national police force of Ireland. If you want to be a police officer in Ireland, you have to join the Garda.
The Garda has existed since 1923. It is a well-known and well-respected form of public service. Garda officers are all public employees.
There are over 18,000 Garda officers in Ireland. Ordinary police officers are just known as Gardai or Garda officers. At the end of 2022, there were 11,411 of them employed across Ireland. The maximum number of Gardai that could be employed is 12,500. This means the Garda Síochána is always recruiting more. Indeed, there has been a shortage of Garda officers in recent years. This means the position is increasingly well-regarded and well-paid.
What Does a Garda Officer Do
Garda officers work to uphold the law and reduce crime. Your specific duties would be:
- Responding to calls for help from the public.
- Investigating crimes and offences.
- Interviewing suspects and writing reports.
- Making arrests.
- Giving evidence in court.
- Controlling traffic or crowds at large public events.
- Advising the public on personal safety and crime prevention.
- Promoting respect for people concerning their race, diversity and human rights.
Who Employs Garda Officers
Garda officers or employed by the Garda Síochána. This is the national police force of Ireland. The Garda is then split into regions and districts. As a Garda officer, you will most likely just work in a single district. Typically, each district contains just one Garda station. A different number of Gardaí are based at each station. This varies depending on its importance.
Job Salary for a Garda Officer in Ireland
There are also a variety of sources for how much a Garda officer is paid.
The first stage is the training stage. All Garda Trainees get €184 per week for the 32 weeks of training. Additionally, accommodation and food are provided by the Garda College. Once you have completed your training you join the Garda Síochána. The starting pay is €34,572.00. You then move through increments. After 8 years of service, you will get €52,523. Then after 13- and 19-years service you get additional increments. This means there is a maximum pay rate of €58,958 per annum after 19 years.
Another source says €52,625 is the average salary.
If you get promoted from Garda to Sergeant or Inspector or beyond there will always be significant pay rises attached.
It is also worth remembering that other allowances may also be payable, including for unsocial hours. You will also have plenty of opportunities to do overtime.
In addition to this, Garda officers practising in Dublin will usually earn at least 10% more than in other parts of Ireland. This is because of the much higher cost of living in Dublin.
General Salary Levels in Ireland
Some other figures are useful. These will allow you to compare a Garda officer’s salary in Ireland with other professions. And they will show how a Garda officer’s salary in Ireland is well-paid.
According to the Central Statistics Office, the national average salary in Ireland is €45,324. That’s a salary after tax of €34,815 a year. It is also equivalent to €2,901 a month. Or you can look at it as €670 a week.
A good salary in Ireland is said to start at €45,000 across the country. This rises to €50,000 in Dublin. This translates to €2,887 every month after tax. It is also equivalent to €3,102 monthly before tax.
Further, the current Minimum Wage in Ireland is €11.30. This must be paid to people aged 20 and over. This means the minimum untaxed income for a 40-hour week is €452. Per month this works out to just under €2000. It is also equivalent to around €23,500 per year.
How Do Garda Officers Get Paid
Garda officers are paid a salary by the Irish Government as public employees.
How Often Is a Garda Officer Normally Paid
As a Garda officer, you can normally expect to be paid a salary every month.
Who Negotiates a Job Salary for a Garda Officer
The basic salary levels of Garda officers are set through negotiations. This is done between police representatives and the Irish Government. It happens every year.
What Sort of Contracts Do Garda Officers Have
Garda officers will have permanent contracts of employment. These will be with the government. This will mean these contracts set out all the relevant terms of employment. The contracts will also all be standard.
Earning Potential of a Garda Officer in Ireland
Garda officers’ pay can increase significantly for two reasons. One of these is experience and length of service. The other is a promotion within the Garda.
Structure of the Garda in Ireland
Garda officers have different ranks within the structure of the police force. At the very top is a Garda Commissioner. They will be assisted by a small number of Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners. Only a very small number of Garda officers ever reach these ranks.
Ordinary policing is done by officers closer to the ground. The rank and structure is as follows:
- Chief Superintendent – They lead and manage local Garda services. There are close to 50 of them.
- Superintendent – These run police stations. There are around 200 right across Ireland.
- Inspectors coordinate policing and cases. There are close to 450 of these.
- Sergeants manage teams of Garda officers. Ireland has around 2,500 of them.
- Ordinary police officers are just known as Garda officers. At the end of 2022, there were 11,411 of them employed across Ireland. The maximum number of Garda that could be employed is 12,500.
How to Become a Garda Officer in Ireland
The road to becoming a Garda officer in Ireland is a long and thorough one. These factors reflect the unique responsibilities and duties of the role. Understanding the educational and training requirements to become a Garda officer is important if you want to become one.
You will need to complete 33 weeks of training to become a Gardai.
If you cannot meet the requirements to be a Garda officer, another option is open. This is to join the Garda Reserve. This is the volunteer part-time section of the Garda Síochána. It was created in 2006. Training to join the Garda Reserve is done in police colleges. It takes under a month to complete this training. There are around 500 members of the Garda Reserve.
Qualifications/Courses – Garda Officer
To apply to be a Gardai you will also need to be over 18. Additionally, applicants have to pass a fitness test. An extra element is that you need to be of good character.
You will also need to pass a Garda vetting check is also required. This is because you will be working with children and vulnerable people. This system of Garda vetting is conducted by the Garda Siochána National Vetting Bureau.
Once these checks have been completed, you must then take a series of aptitude tests. If you pass these you then have a competency-based interview. This will include elements such as ‘Problem Solving’, ‘Resilience’, and ‘Motivation for the Role’.
If you have passed all of these stages, then you enrol at the Garda Training College. All Garda Trainees get €184 per week for the 32 weeks of training. Additionally, accommodation and food are provided by the Garda College. Training takes 32 weeks and is a mixture of theory and practical learning. There will also be physical training. Once the training is done, you will have graduated the college. You can then begin your career with the police service.
General Skills Required by a Garda Officer
- Excellent problem-solving and diagnostic skills are essential. In addition, Garda officers must be able to deal with a wide variety of policing issues.
- Good time management skills are essential. This is because you will be handling a range of projects at the same time. This means being a Gardai is a varied career
- You must also be prepared to keep learning about new issues in crime. This includes changes to the law. This applies throughout your working life.
- Excellent communication skills are needed. This is because you will be working with a wide variety of different people from different walks of life.
- You must be a good team player. This means having the ability to work constructively with others.
- Your fitness level needs to always remain strong. This is because of the physical nature of being a Gardai.
- Additionally, there are a few other office-based skills needed. Such as good computer literacy to record information relating to suspects and crimes.
- You will also always wear a uniform unless you are a detective.
Challenges of Being a Gardai
- Concentration and focus are needed. Further, you will need to keep track of many cases at the same time. This will include knowing the stages that these cases are at.
- You will also need to maintain a professional outlook and treat the public with respect. This includes how you deal with suspects. These suspects can often be difficult and challenging. All of these factors mean the job of a Garda officer can be stressful.
- Dealing with some crimes can be upsetting or distressing. There is also a strong risk of injury at work.
- No two days are the same when you are a Garda officer. Indeed, you must always be prepared for the unexpected. This can be exciting but also challenging at times.
- You will need to maintain your physical fitness. You will also need to work outdoors and in all weather.
Type of Person Suited for this Work
- An extremely innovative and thoughtful person makes a good Garda officer.
- You will also need to be someone who can apply investigative skills with confidence. Tied into this you need to be a good listener. This is because it will be your responsibility to work out the causes of crime. A lot of this will come from direct discussion and interviewing suspects.
- You will also need to be someone with a calm outlook. This includes the ability to deal with stress because the work can be very pressured.
- Gardai always need to be team players. This includes taking direction from more senior team members.
- Additionally, you must keep up to date with changes in the law. This factor means you need to be someone willing to learn as your career progresses.
General Expected Working Hours of a Garda Officer
You can expect to work a forty-hour week. However, being a Gardai is not a nine-to-five job. You will work on tours of duty. Each tour of duty lasts 10 hours. You will have to do six tours of duty on six consecutive days. Once these 60 hours of work have been done, you then get a four-day break. After this, you go back to six days of work.
Location of Work of a Garda Officer
As a Garda officer, you would be based in a Garda police station practice. The location of these police stations will often be in the centres of towns. However, you will always have to do a lot of community policing. This means every day you will either have to be visible in keeping the peace. You will also have to be out in the community investigating crimes. Some of the time you will also need to appear in court.
Future Prospects of a Garda Officer
It is possible to build a successful and well-paid career as a Garda officer. Many people do this by looking for promotion. The next rank above Garda officer is sergeant, and above that is Inspector. Beyond that, you get Superintendents and Chief Superintendents.
Another route for policing is to become a detective. Close to a fifth of all Garda officers become detectives. Within the detective structure, there are exactly the same ranks as the main part of the Garda Síochána.
There are also opportunities to specialise in a particular type of policing. Examples of this include anti-fraud, road traffic, drugs or firearms.
But even if you don’t look for a promotion or a specialism, you can still have a rewarding job as an ordinary Garda officer. The post is also well paid and has good holiday entitlement.