THE Garda Síochána is facing a growing management crisis with 12 superintendents due to take voluntary retirement this year and up to 100 others eligible for retirement.
On top of these voluntary retirements, a further three detective superintendents, all in Dublin, have already retired or will soon do so on reaching the compulsory retirement age of 60.
Revealing the figures to the Irish Examiner, a senior Garda source said that out of 180-odd superintendents in the country, up to 100 are eligible for retirement.
Superintendents can retire from the force on reaching 50 so long as they have served 30 years in the force.
If a large number of these opt for retirement it will plunge the force into a management crisis, placing considerable pressure on the Garda Commissioner and the Government.
The association representing superintendents will today gather to discuss the spate of retirements and the Government moratorium on recruitment and promotions in the public sector.
The Association of Garda Superintendents (AGS) is holding its annual conference at the Garda Sports Club in Westmanstown, Co Dublin. Commissioner Fachtna Murphy will address the association at noon and Justice Minister Dermot Ahern will address delegates at dinner.
At the conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, the commissioner said he was working with Mr Ahern in putting forward requests to the Department of Finance to sanction appointments, particularly at superintendent rank.
It is not known if the commissioner will be in a position to update superintendents on this today. It is thought at least six of the 12 superintendents voluntarily taking retirement have already done so, leaving inspectors to manage districts in those areas.
Last month, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan issued a circular to Government departments imposing a moratorium on recruitment and promotions. Any exceptions must be sanctioned by him.
Superintendents, and other garda ranks, are concerned at the high percentage of young and inexperienced gardaí in the force and the lack of sergeants to supervise them.
The commissioner told the AGSI conference in excess of 40% of Garda ranks had less than five years experience. This was a problem.
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