Gardaí have announced their COVID-19 response plan which will see a special policing strategy taken across The Avondhu region. 

In a press briefing in the Garda Headquarters this morning Commissioner Drew Harris said that the ‘measures are to maximise our operational availability and support other vital public services’.

There will be a new garda roster enacted from Monday seeing gardaí working for longer hours per day. Annual leave for personnel will be restricted to no more than 5% of the workforce. 

As many as 325 student garda who are training in the Garda College will be sworn in as full members of the force next week and allocated to Garda stations nationally. That group will come from one class of 200 recruits and another 125 from the next class.

Gardaí members working as instructors in the Garda College will be deployed to operational duties or essential training services.

Training deferred

Training in the Garda College will be deferred until further notice expect for specialist training activity (firearms, driver, armed support)

In order to enhance community support the force has decided to rent 210 additional vehicles.

Senior ranked members of An Garda Síochána who were scheduled to avail of the severance package on 1 April, 2020 have been invited to defer their retirement for three months

There is also a plan that gardaí of all ranks who have reached the compulsory retirement age can apply to remain in employment for a further 12 months subject to terms and conditions. 

“Any Garda member who is required to retire on age ground on or before 1st June, 2020 and wishes to remain in service can forward an application for the consideration of the Commissioner.”

Mr Harris has designated the ongoing situation as an “exceptional event” in accordance with the Working Time Agreement which means that normal rules around working hours does not apply.

Non-essential foreign travel by gardaí will not be undertaken. All unnecessary large gatherings will be restricted. Only essential meetings in accordance with Government guidelines will take place with attendance limited to essential personnel only

Earlier this week, Deputy Commissioner of Policing and Security established the Garda National Co-ordination Unit.

Headed by a Chief Superintendent, its role is to ensure a co-ordinated approach when dealing with organisational issues with the COVID-19 virus.