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Senior PSNI officers could be tempted to join Garda after high-profile appointments

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Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

More senior police officers from Northern Ireland may be attracted to join An Garda Siochana following the appointment of several high-profile PSNI officers to the ranks in the Irish Republic.

Apart from the opportunity of a new challenge and promotion, senior PSNI officers may also benefit from higher wages and the ability to hold on to their pensions.

Two senior PSNI officers were recently appointed to positions within the Garda, prompting speculation that more may cross the border. PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman was recently named an Assistant Commissioner, the first time an officer from Northern Ireland has been handed the role.

At the same time, the policing authority named Detective Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley as a Superintendent in the Irish police force.

It follows the appointment in 2018 of Drew Harris as the Garda Commissioner.

It was the first time any officer from outside the Republic was appointed to the top post.

The switch from Northern Ireland to the south can lead to a boost in a police officer's income, according to a newspaper report on Sunday.

New Assistant Commissioner Hilman will be on a salary equivalent to between £120,000 and £129,000, according to the report in the Irish Mail on Sunday.

This salary is a significant increase on a reported salary of the £84,000 to £89,500 she was earning with the PSNI.

According to the report, Mr McCauley has increased his pay from £56,000 to the equivalent of between £69,000 and £71,000.

However, PSNI officers over the age of 50 who have served for 30 years receive a pension of two thirds of their salary based on the last year's pay.

Multiple reports state that Mr Harris is on a salary of €250,000, or £224,000, a year.

In a statement announcing the appointment of Ms Hilman, Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan said he was "encouraged to see that it continues to be the case that well-qualified and experienced officers from the PSNI are taking part in competitions to join (the gardai)".

He added: "Ms Hilman has over 30 years policing experience and will undoubtedly bring valuable expertise to her new role, at a time of significant change in An Garda Siochana.

"I also welcome the fact that the appointment of both Anne Marie Cagney and Paula Hilman as Assistant Commissioners will further expand the number of women at senior ranks.

"In recent years a small number of PSNI officers have similarly been appointed as Superintendents in An Garda Siochana. I wish Stephen McCauley well in his new position."

As both Ms Hilman and Mr McCauley were members of the PSNI, Irish government approval was needed under the Garda Siochana Act 2005.

Belfast Telegraph