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'We have more to do' says Harris as 60th anniversary of first women joining gardaí commemorated

The 60th anniversary of women joining the gardaí is being commemorated today and the Garda Commissioner has said the force has "more to do".

Drew Harris made the statement as the establishment of a Women’s Network was announced.

The Women’s Network aim is to support and encourage women in the advancement of their careers in the organisation and will be chaired by Chief Superintendent Margaret Nugent.

The 60th-anniversary commemoration will take place at an event in Farmleigh in Dublin.

It will include a speech from Commissioner Harris, a presentation on the history of women in An Garda Síochána, a panel discussion, and guest speaker Ms Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, Chairperson of the National Women's Council of Ireland.

"60 years ago these pioneers of policing in Ireland took the brave and honourable step of becoming a garda and, in doing so, not only helped protect the communities they served, but also inspired many other women to follow in their footsteps," said the Commissioner in a statement.

"We have come a long way since the first 12 women joined An Garda Síochána in July 1959. Female representation within the ranks of An Garda Síochána is strong.

Drew Harris

"Women perform duty across the whole range of operational units and bureaus.

"Every day the women of An Garda Síochána make a positive difference to individuals and the communities this organisation serves across the country and further afield."

A garda statement revealed that there are currently 3,780 females making up 27% of garda members.

In addition, 26% of the garda reserve are female and 76% of garda staff are also female.

"We have more to do," added Commissioner Harris.

"Not only do we need to encourage more women to join An Garda Síochána, we also need to continue to give female gardaí the encouragement and support to apply for specialist units, detective duties and promotion so we can continue to increase female representation across An Garda Síochána."

Earlier: 60th anniversary of first women joining gardaí to be marked today

- Digitial Desk staff

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the first women joining the gardaí.

The first 12 female recruits joined in 1959, 37 years after the force was founded.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will attend an event to mark the anniversary in the Phoenix Park today.

The chairperson of the National Women's Council of Ireland, Ellen O'Malley Dunlop, will be the guest speaker. She says it is a historic occasion.

"It's a very special day for women who are members of An Garda Síochána," said Ms O'Malley Dunlop.

"We've come a long way from the early days where some would have thought that women weren't up for the job of policing.

"And we know now differently. And we have women at all levels of An Garda Síochána.

"In 2014, Noirin O'Sullivan was appointed after a rigorous interviewing process to the highest rank as commissioner. And this appointment was very important for women both inside and outside the force."