Over 160 gardaí who were previously unsuccessful when they applied to be promoted to sergeants two years ago are now being considered for promotion.

The gardaí did two interviews for the position in 2017 and passed the first round but were not selected for promotion following the second round of interviews.

They were informed in writing at the time that the central interview board did not include their names on the panel for promotion.

However Garda Headquarters said tonight that Commissioner Drew Harris is now considering promoting these gardaí to sergeants.

Garda management says there is a deficit of 129 Sergeants which will rise to over 160 by the end of the year and 200 by next June.

It also insists the decision is in line with garda regulations and compliant with Civil and Public Service guidelines.

The decision to promote the previously unsuccessful candidates was taken at a Promotion Advisory Council meeting earlier this week which was attended by the Policing Authority and representatives of the Garda Associations. 

Garda Headquarters said tonight that it was increasing the number of sergeants to be deployed in local areas and that this "will enhance front-line policing in communities and increase supervision levels for gardaí".

"As part of this," it said, "the Commissioner is currently considering a proposal for 168 gardaí to be promoted to Sergeant rank".