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Programme saw trainees spend less time in classrooms during pandemic 
Seventy-one new gardaí graduated on Tuesday after completing a modified training programme which focused on on-the-job experience rather than training in the Garda College. 
A further 69 members of the Garda Reserve were also attested to aid in the policing of Covid-19. 
The full-time gardaí, who commenced their training in May, undertook a blend of online learning, education in the Garda College in Templemore and “experiential learning in training Garda stations”, the Garda said in a statement. 
The modified training programme allowed trainee gardaí to be deployed to assist frontline members after just one week in Templemore and several weeks of online learning. 
They later returned to the college for additional training before graduating. 
Having being attested as full-time gardaí, the new members will now have full powers and operational responsibilities. 
Difficult time 
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Minister for Justice Helen McEntee paid tribute to the new gardaí for signing up during such a difficult period. 
“Garda members regularly face dangerous, uncertain situations in order to assist and protect the public. It takes true mettle to come forward at a critical period in the country’s fight against this virus and be prepared to give it all to protecting the public from the front line,” Mr Harris said. 
“A very important aspect of the work of An Garda Síochána throughout the pandemic has been day-to-day engagement with the most vulnerable. Often gardaí have been people’s only interaction or contact, their only support. The newly attested Garda members and reserves will help support this work and no one in need will feel as though they are dealing with this alone.” 
Ms McEntee said the new gardaí had already played their part in responding to the pandemic during their time in training. 
“I want to thank them for their dedicated service and for their commitment – to family, to community and to country. I wish each of them the very best at this extraordinary beginning to what I hope will be long and fulfilling careers.” 
The new gardaí comprise 54 men and 17 women and come from Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Poland. 
The new reserve gardaí are made up of 37 men and 32 women. They come from Ireland, England, Germany, Georgia and Lithuania. 
Reserve gardaí have undergone specific training to prepare them to police Covid-19 regulations and they will focus on engaging in local patrols and crime-prevention measures. 
“The 69 Garda Reserves have willingly committed their time to support the ongoing efforts to keep people safe and will form an integral part of our policing effort moving forward,” Mr Harris said. 
Ms McEntee said she wished to pay particular tribute to the new reserve members who “already work full-time jobs but willingly give their free time to An Garda Síochána in order to strengthen their local communities”. 
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