Dáil Éireann - Volume 434 - 06 October, 1993
Written Answers. - Garda Promotion.
Ms F. Fitzgerald Ms F. Fitzgerald
188. Ms F. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Justice if her attention has been  drawn to the difficulties involved for a person (details supplied) in the Garda Síochána who has failed to gain promotion to the rank of inspector; and if she will make a statement on the case in question and on the role of women in the Garda Síochána.
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn) Máire Geoghegan-Quinn
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn): A total of 690 members of sergeant rank are qualified for promotion to the rank of inspector. The most recent interviews for promotion to that rank were held in 1992 when a panel of 60 persons was formed. The person in question (who passed the professional examination for promotion to inspector in 1981 and who has competed in all open interviews for promotion to that rank since then) was one of four female applicants — three of whom were successful. Thirteen per cent of male applicants were placed on the panel.
Generally speaking, promotion to any rank in the Garda Síochána is extremely competitive because the number of members who are eligible to compete is far in excess of the number of vacancies.
At present, there are 560 female members in the force out of a total strength of 10,860. Their numbers by rank are as follows: garda, 535, sergeant, 22, inspector, 2, superintendent 1. Before 1989, women did not compete on equal terms with men to join the Garda Síochána. However, approximately one in three candidates now offered a position (following successful interviews at the Civil Service Commission stage) is a woman. This percentage success rate is roughly proportional to the number of women presenting at interview to join the Garda. At the most recent competition for promotion to sergeant, 28.5 per cent of female candidates were successful as against 26.4 per cent male candidates.
The Garda Síochána is an equal opportunities employer. It is committed to and supports equality of opportunity in employment regardless of gender, creed, colour or marital status. It is the policy of the Commissioner that the principles  and practices of equality of opportunity should apply to recruitment, placement, selection, career development and all other conditions of service to members of the Garda Síochána, and to ensure that no member or job applicant (actual or potential) received less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, creed, colour, or marital status or is disadvantaged by unjustifiable conditions or requirements.
The Garda Síochána, in addition to requiring compliance with specific legislation which makes discrimination illegal, takes all necessary steps to promote fairness and equal treatment. All procedures and practices continue to be monitored and reviewed.
There is no distinction in the duties performed by male and female members unless the interest of privacy and decency dictates otherwise.
I am satisfied that there are now equal opportunities for advancement within the Garda Síochána and I firmly expect to see women rising through the ranks in a significant way in the future.
Dáil Éireann 434 Written Answers. Garda Promotion.