Garda's marathon commute to town
Published 02/04/2016 | 00:00
A GARDA serving in Wexford has spoken of the cost to his pocket and his family life of a 220km daily commute to and from the town every day from his home in Clonmel which means he barely sees his son.
His comments appear in the latest issue of the Garda Review in which it has been revealed that some officers claim they have been 'recruited into poverty'.
In the article, many of the officers told how they were stationed many miles from their homes and now struggle to pay for transport.
The Wexford-based officer, who is not identified, is quoted as saying: 'I live in Clonmel and commute 220km in total everyday to Wexford. It's an hour and a half journey each way; so on top of a 10 hour shift I'm driving for three hours.
'This is costing over €100 per week in diesel which is a lot considering the wages we are on. Also being away from home for 13 hours a day means that during the six working days I barely see my son.'
According to the article, three newly qualified gardai have already resigned from the force due to low wages.
Over 24,000 people applied for the garda posts when they were announced in January 2014. But the Garda Representative Association (GRA) has revealed that three of the elite few who qualified from Templemore have already quit because they couldn't live on the wages.
The new officers have a starting wage of €23,171 - significantly less than their colleagues who qualified before the recruitment freeze.
Many more new members have reportedly threatened to quit with one saying they would be better off 'stacking shelves in Tesco'.
The magazine carries 15 first person accounts of the daily struggles of a new recruit. The stories are anonymous to protect the identities of the gardai. One 25-year-old officer told the magazine that he had applied for family income supplement from the Social Welfare "as we earn so little".
'I cannot afford medical aid or any other health insurance, and we need some kind of insurance in this job.'
Another newly-qualified officer told how he dreamed of being a garda for the majority of his life but is now considering leaving. There was no comment from the garda press office.