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Garda Reserve has been allowed to slowly atrophy

18 years ago as Minister for Justice I provided for and established the Garda Reserve. I am sorry to say that after my departure from Justice the Garda Reserve has been allowed to slowly atrophy.

Many good men and women volunteered to assist An Garda Síochána in their vital duties in the same way as reservists do in the United Kingdom.

It is sad to record that their patriotism was met with neglect and distrust and many have written to me to express their profound disappointment at how they and their colleagues were treated.

Here are some facts and lived testimony from from Garda Reservists



-        Established under the Garda Síochána Act in 2005, the Garda Reserve was created with the intention that committed members of the public could volunteer to provide a reserve of part-time personnel to support the work of the Garda Síochána. Garda reservists can play an important role in their communities as people who locals can trust and know they can talk to. [1],[2]



-        The duties of reserve Gardaí are authorised by the Garda Commissioner, and currently consist of high visibility patrolling, community engagement, policing of events, and providing of in-station support. 



-        Reserve Gardaí must be under the accompaniment and supervision of a full-time member during the performance of their operational duties. This power dynamic has historically been cited as contributing to a negative work environment and feelings of unappreciation towards Reserve Garda.


Garda Reserves should be able to carry out all duties on their own accord without the need to be in the presence of a full-time member as this would greatly increase overall efficiency” (Garda Reservist, February 2023)


-        According to the Garda Reserve Strategy 2021 – 2025 Action Plan, a scoping exercise to inform the reviewal of the policy prohibiting independent Reserve Gardaí patrolling was set to be conducted in the beginning of 2022.[3]



-        Despite goals of increasing numbers of Reserve Garda after a temporary, membership numbers are still diminishing, with no clear timeline of when promised improved recruitment schemes will come to fruition.


“Regrettably there are legitimate claims of victimisation, bullying and isolation amongst reserves which have been contributory factors to many resignations.” (Garda Reserve Member, November 2021)


Timeline of Recruitment Reform[4]:

  • 19 October 2021:  the Garda Reserve Strategy 2021-2025 was published.


  • 25 October 2021:  Government were committed to increasing the number in the Reserve to 2,000. Since then, Reserve membership numbers have dropped to 382.


  • 24 May 2022 the Minister proclaimed it was anticipated that a recruitment process would be launched in late 2022 or early 2023, predicated with the Public Appointments Service, PAS, as to the timetable for the recruitment process.


  • 20 October 2022, Minister of Justice Deputy James Browne stated that new recruitment campaign would be formed in the second half of 2023.[5] That will be almost two years since the strategy on the Garda Reserve was published. 



Recruitment Statistics



“Every month we now see 3 or 4 more members resign primarily based on the fact that AGS has no interest in the Reserve” (Constituent, October 2022)

“As a group we feel mostly totally redundant and side-lined most of the remaining few have not resigned out of stubbornness more than anything else.”

(Garda Reserve Member, November 2021) 


“In the 16yrs that the Garda Reserve has been in existence little or nothing has changed with very little integration or interest on behalf of AGS to promote or even at this stage keep the Reserve alive.” (Constituent, October 2022)


Current Status:

-        As total reserve numbers continue to decrease, reservists are still waiting for Recruitment reforms promised by the Garda Reserve Strategy 2021 – 2025 Action Plan.


As a serving member of Reserve rank since 2006 it is extremely disappointing to see the commendable concept of a “Reserve” continue to rot.”

(Garda Reserve Member, November 2021)





[4] 22 Nov


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