Frontline garda representatives along the border are concerned the foot is being “taken off the pedal” in preparing for Brexit.
There is concern that while the Garda Northern Region – which stretches from Donegal to Louth – received a contingent of 49 probationers in the last recruitment batch that less than half that number are expected to be sent there in the next allocation in June.
The Northern Region branch of the Garda Representative Association also expressed concern that border policing will be assigned in part to a generation of gardaí with no experience of a border with Northern Ireland.
A spokesman for the GRA Nothern branch said:
There is a concern the foot is being taken off the pedal because Brexit has been postponed until the end of October.
Following a decision earlier this month, EU leaders agreed to push the UK's departure date to October 31.
Speaking ahead of the GRA annual conference, which starts today in Killarney, the spokesman said they hoped the next allocation of probationers would “continue in the same vein” as the last one.
In the last allocation, in early March, the Northern Region got 49 probationers, out of a total of 200 graduates, from Templemore Garda Training College.
In the next batch of graduates, due in June, it is thought that the northern region may only get around half the previous number.
The GRA northern branch spokesman also said there was a fear around sharing the knowledge that older more experienced gardai have of a hard border to younger colleagues.
“There are concerns around the transfer of institutional knowledge from members who remember a hard border to those coming through, who know nothing about border policing and border policing is a very unique job,” said.
The Garda Northern Region takes in Donegal, Sligo/Leitrim, Cavan/Monaghan and Louth divisions.
There have been estimates that 500,000 people live along the border, North and South, and that while gardaí don't believe there will be a hard border that there will still be “some border that will have to be policed”.
One Garda source said: “We will have to police an international land border between the EU and a third country, one the fifth largest economy and the other the largest economy. We will need the resources, equipment and training to do that.”