Bell Harbour native John Kerin is to be appointed new Chief Superintendent for County Clare.
This appointment had been held up unnecessarily by the government recruitment ban. Chief Superintendent Kerin worked in Clare for 8 years, and currently holds the top Garda position in County Kerry.

I welcome the appointment, but there is an exodus of experienced members from the Force.

I think the appointment of John Kerin as new Chief Superintendent will help bolster and strengthen the Garda force in County Clare. This appointment comes as many members of the force and local communities have been frustrated at the effect the recruitment embargo has had on frontline public services. Chief Superintendent Kerin currently holds the top Garda position in County Kerry and has also been acting Chief Superintendent for the Limerick Garda Division. He is a hugely experienced and reputable member of the Gardaí and will be a huge addition for County Clare.

Notwithstanding this appointment, there are now serious serious pressures facing the Garda√≠ as a result of government policy. I outlined some of these pressures in D√°il √Čireann in recent weeks. Due to the amount of¬†members leaving the force, 32% are now under 30 years of age and almost half of all Garda√≠ have less than 10 years experience. These statistics show that we
have a young and vibrant force that offers much potential.  However, allied to this is an exodus of experienced Gardaí. This is leading to an actual brain drain from the force. Last year alone, three assistant Commissioners, twelve Chief Superintendents,
26 Superintendents, 31 Inspectors, 166 Sergeants along with 466 Gardaí all left the force.

This to my mind has created a serious situation. If these positions are not filled immediately, we run the risk of
having a force that has a serious deficit of leadership and experience. I also believe that changes need to come into force in recruitment and rewarding of community police.  At the moment, Gardai do not see community policing as a career option or an area in which they can reasonably expect advancement. This must change. Garda organisational structures must be amended to reflect a focus on community-based policing. I believe a special rank should be created within the Garda force in order to
encourage and incentives the roll of Community Gardai. There is no doubt and all the evidence shows that community policing works. I welcome the fact that the number of Gardaí engaged in community policing is set to increase. But these extra Community Garda need to be appointed as a matter of urgency.