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Garda Síochána Career Progression

Garda Preparation Courses

Gardaí who have the required skills may apply for promotion to the role of Garda sergeant, and climb the ranks of an Garda Síochána.  The Ranks of An Garda Síochána are:

→ Garda (preparation courses)

→ Garda Sergeant (preparation course)

→ Garda Inspector (preparation course)

→ Superintendent

→ Chief Superintendent

→ Assistant Commissioner

→ Deputy Commissioner

→ Commissioner

Specialist Units

Many with an interest in An Garda Síochána have ambitions to work in specialist units within the force which deal with tackling crimes such as fraud, forensics, drugs, gangland crime etc. One must usually complete 3 years of service as a regular uniformed Garda before being considered to serve on a specialist crime unit or for promotion up the ranks with each section having its own selection procedures.

Below is a sample of some varying specialist units within An Garda Síochána.

Traffic Corps

The Traffic Corps main area of responsibility is ensuring the free movement of traffic and enforcement of all aspects of traffic legislation.  The Garda Traffic Corps use a wide range of vehicles, ranging from motorcycles to patrol cars and 4×4 jeeps.

National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI)

The unit is responsible for the investigation of serious and organised crime nationwide and consists mainly of detectives, who are generally senior investigators.

Garda National Drugs Unit (GNDU)

This specialist unit investigates domestic and international drug trafficking. Its focus is to dismantle drug networks involved in importation and distribution.

Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB)

The Criminal Assets Bureau is a specialist Garda unit established in 1996 which investigates the proceeds of crime, its beneficiaries and associated criminal behaviour. The CAB is widely known for its tackling of gangland crime and associated individuals that operate in the crime world.

Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI)

Informally known as the Garda Fraud Squad, this is a specialised division of Ireland’s national police force, the Garda Síochána, that investigates financial crimes.

Special Detective Unit (SDU)

The Special Detective Unit (SDU) is equipped for dealing with security issues to the state, as well as the protection of visiting dignitaries on state visits. Within the unit, there is also is a subunit called the Emergency Response Unit (ERU). This highly trained tactical operational unit deals with high-risk armed police combat situations.

Garda Technical Bureau

This is the longest established specialist unit in the Garda Síochána. The Bureau comprises of a number of sections each providing a specialist service to the Garda Síochána: Administration, Ballistics, Fingerprinting, Forensic Document Examination, Forensic Liaison Office, Mapping, Photography.

Garda Public Order Unit

Commonly known as the Garda Riot Squad, this is a unit of the Garda Síochána, that deals with public disorder, including riots and protests.

Regional Support Units (RSU)

RSU are specialist armed response units of An Garda Síochána. Based in all six Garda regions in the country, Garda RSU officers carry a combination of lethal firearms and non-lethal weapons.

Crime and Security Branch (CSB)

Also known as “C3”, it is responsible for the administration of national security, counter-terrorism and serious crime investigations within the Garda Síochána. It consists of the following units:

Special Detectives Unit

The Special Detective Unit superseded the Special Branch (which they are still commonly referred to). Their duties include investigation of threats to state security,  armed response to serious incidents and Presidential, ministerial and diplomatic protection.

Emergency Response Unit (ERU)

The Garda ERU provides the highest tier of firearms response to Irish law enforcement, specialising in weapons tactics, counter-terrorism, execution of high-risk missions, crisis negotiation, hostage rescue and close protection, among other roles.

National Surveillance Unit (NSU)

Members of the unit are specially trained and selected Detective Gardaí who are tasked to remain covert whilst on and off duty, tracking suspected criminals, terrorists and hostile, foreign spies operating in Ireland. The unit’s detectives are routinely armed. The National Surveillance Unit is understood to possess a manpower of approximately 100 officers and is considered to be the most secretive arm of the force.

Operational Support Unit

(Formally Special Services) is a section of the Garda Síochána responsible for providing support services to policing in Ireland. It comprises of the following specialised units:

Garda Mounted Support Unit

The mounted unit (horseback) is based in Phoenix Park in Dublin. The mounted unit is advantageous for its high visibility over crowds of people and is therefore commonly used as a measure of crowd control, or to maintain public order at large-scale events such as matches or parades. The Mounted Unit is also hugely beneficial in search and rescue operations for their ability to cover rough terrain quickly.

Garda Water Unit

The Water Unit exists to assist the Garda Síochána in both diving and surface operations. Diving operations include searching for and recovery of missing persons and evidence, conducting security searches in water and in confined spaces e.g. sewers. The unit also conducts surface patrols which encompass maritime safety, maritime legislation enforcement and security patrols.

Click here for Recruitment Process

Prepare for Success in the Competitive Garda Selection Process

The competition for the selection of Garda Trainees attracts a very high number of applicants in every campaign. Accordingly, the selection process to become a Garda Trainee is rigorous, with candidates required to undertake a range of relevant assessment tests and exercises over a number of selection stages

Our courses are carefully designed by experts in the industry and in Garda Recruitment. We have been successfully preparing candidates for Garda Recruitment campaigns for over 30 years. No one else can come close to that experience.

Becoming a Garda is an exceptional career decision which is why only a select few will make it through the process. These candidates know the importance not only of preparation but of investing in the best preparation.

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An Garda Síochána

Becoming a member of An Garda Síochána is an exceptional career decision. It is a permanent position that offers a number of great benefits such as:

But perhaps most importantly, it is a position that is respected by people up and down the country because as a Garda, you will be making a proactive contribution by building relationships and trust within the community.

Garda Preparation Courses
An Garda Síochána

Selection Process

Unfortunately, it is not easy to become a member of An Garda Síochána. To do this, you must prove yourself by navigating through a rigorous selection process. This process will not be made any easier by the vast numbers of people who will be applying for the recruitment campaign.

However, you may feel comforted by the fact that since 1987, thousands of candidates have successfully availed of our services before you. These candidates are now either serving members of An Garda Síochána or are students currently attending the Garda Training College in Templemore. We fully recognise that our very best advertisements are the recurring recommendations that these individuals provide to members of the public on an on-going basis.

In fact, we encourage you to ask members of An Garda Síochána about our services. We are confident that they will endorse our position as the most successful Garda preparation course providers in Ireland.

Garda Recruitment ProcessGarda Entry RequirementsTraining
Selection Process

Pay & Career Progression

Gardaí who have the required skills may apply for promotion to the role of Garda sergeant, and climb the ranks of an Garda Síochána.  The Ranks of An Garda Síochána are:

→ Garda
→ Sergeant
→ Inspector
→ Superintendent
→ Chief Superintendent
→ Assistant Commissioner
→ Deputy Commissioner
→ Commissioner

Career ProgressionPayscale
Pay & Career Progression

A Garda Trainees Experience

Garda Trainee Aisling Butler speaks about her experience. (Source – Garda Press Office – Careers Portal)


Do I really need to prepare?

Think of preparation as one of the best investments you could ever make. You are giving yourself the best chance at success in the recruitment campaign and at gaining a great career with the following benefits:

This is a competitive process and often successful candidates are brought forward by order of merit. So, preparation is not just important in order to pass the Garda tests but also to maximise your scores in them. Candidates that prepare have an instant advantage.

Garda Preparation Courses
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Why Us?

What is it worth knowing that you are giving yourself the best opportunity to succeed in the assessments?

Our experience has shown us that the most serious applicants do not believe in taking shortcuts. Neither do we. We focus on providing the highest quality preparation and have done so for over 30 years. As a result, our courses are the best in the market.

Simply put, we give you the best opportunity of succeeding!

careerservices - Why Us

Please note: We are not affiliated with An Garda Síochána or the Public Appointments Service (the official recruiter) and our courses are optional.

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