MEMBERS OF THE Central Executive Committee of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) are currently protesting outside Lansdowne House in Dublin, where talks on public sector pay cuts are taking place.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, President of the GRA John Parker said this protest, involving around 25 members, was “just the first step in the education campaign”.
He said groups representing gardaí have never been involved in directly influencing talks on pay and allowances and are “never kept in the loop” with the negotiations.
“We’re frozen out of the talks,” he said. “We’re always in a side room and then they come in and tell us what they’ve agreed to and you either take it or leave it”.
President of the GRA John Parker with Mick Corcoran, Representative of the Cork City Division.
In response to comments by Junior Minister Brian Hayes yesterday that legislation may be put in place if an agreement can’t be reached, Parker said that a decision will have to be made but that gardaí have no more to give.
Tomorrow gardaí are set to launch its first action against the cuts by “turning off the goodwill tap”. This could involve gardaí refusing to use their personal phones, laptops and safety gear or drive patrol cars that do not meet the health and safety criteria.
“We have a huge menu of other options,” Parker said. “This is just to introduce the ones that cause the least possible disruption and let people know what gardaí have been giving without getting any recognition for it.”
“There also has to be recognition for the fact that those working weekends are working in dangerous conditions with an increase in public order incidents,” he said. “The passion for investigating crimes is there, and the feelgood factor of preventing someone being beaten up and they’re willing to take a few slaps and a black eye if they know that their family is being provided for.”
It emerged this morning that the government is seeking pay cuts for all employees earning salaries of more than €60,000. Unions said that this is just one of the proposals on the table and no final figures have been agreed at this stage.