More than a third of the 6,380 garda recruitment applications were from people aged between 35 and 49, gardai have confirmed.
Approximately 6,380 people applied to be a garda under the latest recruitment drive to boost numbers in the force.
This is the third year in a row that an annual recruitment drive has been carried out as the Government pushes to increase numbers in the force.
It has been 10 months since the last garda recruitment campaign, which attracted approximately 5,000 applications.
The latest drive was the first following the Government’s decision to increase the entry age limit to apply to become a garda trainee from 35 years to 50.
Almost 37% of applicants for the latest competition were people aged between 35 and 49.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris previously said that the entry age limit increase to 50 provided the opportunity to people who thought their chance had passed or who were considering a change of career to join the force.
The Government has been making efforts to increase the number of gardai in recent years.
Ads in newspapers, on television and on social media have taken place to push recruitment – with efforts being made to target Irish people living in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
At the end of 2023 there were 13,998 gardai in the service – more than 1,000 below the Government’s target of 15,000.
The latest garda recruitment competition, which is being operated by the Public Appointments Service, closed on February 8.
A garda spokesperson said: “This level of applications coming less than a year since the last competition coupled with the fact that more than 2,000 applicants were aged over 35 confirms that interest in becoming a garda is still high and it’s a job worth doing.”
Applicants will now enter into a competitive selection process involving a number of stages including online aptitude tests, competency based interview and fitness test.
It is intended to run garda recruitment campaigns on an annual basis to ensure a steady stream of garda trainees entering the Garda College.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee welcomed the number of applications.
Ms McEntee said: “The response to the latest Garda recruitment campaign has been very strong. I am delighted to see over 6,300 apply to become gardai – this is a significant increase on the 5,000 people who applied last year.
“I am glad to see that so many people want to join An Garda Siochana and I am particularly pleased at the strong response from people aged between 35 and 50. Well over a third of the applications were in that age group.
“I have always said that nothing is off the table when it comes to recruitment.
“We have increased the training allowance and increased the age of entry from 35 to 50. I am determined that An Garda Siochana grows to 15,000 members and beyond.
“So to all those who have applied, good luck with the interviews and assessments, and all the very best on your path to a job well worth doing.”