Address by Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

on the occasion of the Graduation of Reserve Membersof An Garda Síochánaat the Garda College, Templemore 20 November 2009

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Commissioner, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, new Reserve members of An Garda Síochána,

It is truly a pleasure and an honour for me to be present here today as you, the newest Reserve members of An Garda Síochána, graduate.

This is a great day not just for all of you, but for your families, whose support has undoubtedly assisted you in undertaking the demands of training and service for the Garda Síochána Reserve. 

I know that you, as Reserve Gardaí serving in your local communities, will strengthen the links with those communities and deepen their respect for the Force. This is vital for the Garda Síochána. Working in our cities and in our towns, you will play a significant role in providing safety and security for the people of this country.

You will be operating in an increasingly diverse Irish society. In recent years our communities have been enriched by new residents from many parts of Europe and the wider world. I am delighted to see that the Garda Reserve is leading the way in welcoming new members from different ethnic and national backgrounds. Today sees the graduation of members from Australia, Cameroon, India, Pakistan, Poland, and Lithuania. I offer my particular congratulations to you and I hope that your example will encourage more 'new Irish' to join the Reserve.  

Following your graduation today there will be almost 500 operational Garda Reserves throughout the country. The Government is strongly committed to the support and development of the Reserve.  

All of you here today have received excellent training through this internationally respected College. Thanks are due, of course, not only to Assistant Commissioner Harkin and his team here at the College, but to all the trainers and the other Garda personnel involved.

Finally, on behalf of the Government, I want to thank you for your generous commitment to voluntary service. I know that you will do all you can to live up to a very distinguished tradition of service. I wish you well as you embark on your mission as Reserve members of An Garda Síochána. 

Go raibh míle maith agaibh.