Scores of Irish police are quitting ireland and taking offers to join Australian police forces where they are better compensated.
In an article in the Irish Times, Peter Crosbie, a former garda in Dublin, tells how he emigrated to Australia to join the country's police force.
"I spent seven years in the Garda in Dublin, but last year morale in the force was at an all-time low," he said. "Pay packets were shrinking, resources were being cut, and for me, the writing was on the wall about what I would have to do to improve things for myself and my family."
The 34-year-old Crosbie said he always planned to move to Australia, where he'd met his wife Janey on a backpacking trip in 2003, but thought it would be when he was closer to retirement. The couple decided to pack up and move to Australia last December.
"The Western Australian Police have a walk-in recruitment centre in Joondalup in Perth, which is their equivalent of Templemore. I explained I was an ex-garda, and they were very enthusiastic. They know members of the Garda Síochána are well trained," he said. "I resigned from my career break with the Garda and signed up for a three-month transitional course to join the force here, which I’m halfway through now."
He said the better pay and the higher quality of life is attracting many others who have served on Ireland's police force.
"I have met at least 20 ex-gardaí working out here in Perth so far who have left the force and emigrated to Australia. Some of them are senior sergeants, from Clondalkin, Crumlin and Tallaght, and they are all doing well for themselves."
As the population of Western Australia grows by more than 1,000 people a week, putting pressure on the resources of its police force, the country's government has promised to employ an additional 500 officers by 2014. According to commissioner Karl O'Callaghan, this will involve "agressively" recruiting officers from overseas.
O'Callaghan said the force is looking to hire officers who have already served in countries such as the UK and Ireland to save time and training costs.
Officers from other countries must complete a 13-week transition course at the WA Police Academy in Joondalup before joining the force.
Irish people with permanent residency in Australia can apply to the WA Police at any time. See stepforward.wa.gov.au for more information.
Happy Earth Day! Ireland sure looks gorgeous from outer space