The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell, T.D. today welcomed the first members of the Garda Reserve as they graduated from the Garda College, and were sworn in to the rank of Reserve Garda. The group of 36 volunteers who underwent an intense training programme, will serve in Garda Districts in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Sligo.

The Tánaiste said, "It is heartening that so many committed volunteers are prepared to serve their local communities. The men and women who have joined An Garda Síochána today are of the highest calibre and they bring with them the experience and learning gained in their professional lives outside the Force. They will be a real support to their full-time colleagues and will forge new and stronger links between local communities and An Garda Síochána."

The Public Appointments Service continues to accept applications via its website or by telephone at 01 8587726. Over 7000 have been received to date from all over the country.

Interviews took place in recent weeks for applicants from counties Limerick, Kerry, Galway, Clare, Sligo and Dublin. Successful candidates will commence training in January. The Public Appointments Service will be contacting applicants from other counties in the near future to arrange interviews.

14 December 2006.

Notes for Editors

Training Programme
The comprehensive training programme for Garda Reserve trainees consists of more than 120 hours initial training, which is in accordance with best international standards. The programme consists of five phases as follows:

Phase One is a two day induction course to give Reserve members an appreciation of the Garda Organisation and its culture.

Phase Two consists of 56 hours training at evenings / weekends during which the trainee Reserve members will learn basic law and Garda procedures.

Phase Three will be two days during which the trainee Reserve members will engage in role play exercises including radio procedures and be instructed in self defence, handcuff techniques and use of equipment.

Phase Four involves a minimum of 40 hours at a nominated Garda Station during which the Trainee Reserve members engage in accompanied beat patrol with a full-time Garda and Station duty under a Station Sergeant.

Phase Five is a one day graduation at the Garda College.

Duties and Powers

Under section 15 (5) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the duties and powers of reserve Gardai are matters for the Garda Commissioner to determine. He has initially determined that the duties of a reserve member may include the following:

The Garda Commissioner has also initially determined that the powers of reserve members will be confined to matters such as: the Road Traffic Acts, the Public Order Act, theft and burglary. Reserve members will be given the power of arrest under the Criminal Law Act 1997, which provides powers of arrest for both members of the Garda Síochána and civilians.