Commissioner Martin Callinan, Assistant Commissioner Fintan Fanning, Deputies Noel Coonan, Alan Kelly and Michael Lowry, Mayor of Templemore Martin Fogary, distinguished guests, members of An Garda Síochána past and present, ladies and gentlemen.
I am delighted to be here today, celebrating 50 years of the Garda Training College. I know that all members, including Commissioner Callinan, have your own special memories of this place and your time here. Templemore was the first step in the ladder and what you learned here has influenced you throughout your career. I know that Chief Superintendent AnnMarie McMahon and Superintendent Patrick Mc Cabe are very aware of this as they prepare for the next intake of recruits.
The arrival of young Garda recruits in Templemore in 1964 ensured that the town would be forever associated with the training college. That is why I am delighted that this year, 50 years after the first recruits entered Templemore and despite the moratorium on public service recruitment, I have succeeded in opening up recruitment to An Garda Síochána for the first recruits in more than five years. I am sure that Templemore will give the recruits of 2014 as big a welcome as they gave their predecessors in 1964.
Since the inception of the College, Ireland and the business of policing has changed almost beyond recognition. Most members of An Garda Síochána travelled by bicycle and the pace of life was completely different. The world has changed beyond recognition. In 1964 mobile phones, the Internet, Broadband, Video links, Conference Calling, Call Centres and PULSE did not exist. With these massive advances in technology we adopted not only a new vocabulary but a new way of doing business. Every organisation has had to make changes to keep abreast of developments. In particular policing organisations all over the world have had to move very quickly to keep ahead of an ever more sophisticated criminal with access to resources unheard of in the past.
The challenges of policing this changing world have been met down through the years by An Garda Síochána in training a world class police force This institution is the corner stone that the Force depends upon, not just in producing fledgling young officers, but also in developing all ranks throughout the organisation The people in this college today and in years gone by must be congratulated for the standards that they have maintained over the years.
The Garda College did not develop to what it is today without significant input from other arms of the state including the Office of Public Works, the Defence Forces, the townspeople of Templemore themselves and of course the various units within An Garda Síochána. To all of these and others a great deal of thanks is due.
There is an old French saying “plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose ? –
The more things change, the more they remain the same”. That is true of Templemore College and its surrounds. Since 1964, trainers and instructors in this College have spearheaded training in line with best international practice and I have no doubt that this service of excellence will continue.
I wish you all associated with the college happy anniversary and I wish you well as you start a new training programme with what will be your newest recruits and the future of An Garda Síochána.