GARDAÍ WILL TODAY implement a raft of new work-to-rule measures that will see them showing greater leniency at revenue-gathering checkpoints as well as refusing to put themselves forward for voluntary overtime on St Patrick’s Day.
This second menu of instructions was agreed upon by the Garda Representative Association’s (GRA) central executive committee on Monday and has been disseminated through district representatives. The GRA has said that the action of its members is not aimed at disrupting public order and even these work-to-rule actions are not likely to have a major impact on day-to-day policing.
The instructions, which were distributed to gardaí over the last 24 hours are as follows:
- That the Central Executive Committee will consider the position on issues agreed under Croke Park 1, which were agreed on the basis that our pay was protected – in particular the use of member’s personal Driving Licence and personal Insurance in driving official patrol cars.
- Our members have decided to use their discretion in relation to revenue-gathering offences (from Friday 8th March 2013).
- Our members have proposed that they will not make themselves voluntarily available for overtime on St Patrick’s Day.
As part of a number of actions being taken by GRA members to “turn off the goodwill tap”, gardaí have refused to work voluntary overtime for public events, including the Dublin v Mayo match in Croke Park on Saturday. The refusal to work voluntary overtime on St Patrick’s Day is a step up from this as it will be a national action. However, this will not neccessarily mean that there will be a reduction in the number of gardaí policing the streets that day.
Gardaí can be directly ordered to work overtime on their rest days against their will and this is likely to be exercised on St Patrick’s Day, with officers in charge obliged to issue the order to come to work in writing, in some cases.
The use of ‘discretion’ at checkpoints could see gardaí using more leniency with minor offenders who otherwise would have been issued with tickets, which would result in a financial loss for Revenue.
Today GRA President John Parker told TheJournal.ie that its members are “not trying to beat anyone, not even the government”.
“Some of our members are asking if this is having any effect, but the point is that we’re showing the government that we have started a campaign and we didn’t wait weeks to take action,” he said.
Parker also criticised Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s statement yesterday, commending gardaí for their success in tackling burglary levels, saying his comments were “hypocritical”.
“The information he has put out there is misleading as well,” he said. “The number he is quoting of the number of people freed up from behind desks through station closures is wrong, we know that only around six or seven were freed up and others were already operational gardaí”.
He said that while there are no current plans in place to ramp up the work-to-rule measures, the GRA’s central executive committee will be meeting on a regular basis.