THE MINISTER for Justice has reacted with disappointment to the news that the association representing Garda sergeants and inspectors has withdrawn from talks on extending the Croke Park deal on public pay.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors confirmed today it would not take part in further talks, arguing that the proposed cuts to Garda allowances were tantamount to pay cuts, which the association could not support.
“Given what’s on the table, our members don’t seem to have much choice,” general secretary John Redmond told TheJournal.ie this afternoon. “Theses allowances make up a very significant proportion of our members’ pay.”
This evening Shatter said the current government had been left with a “terrible financial legacy” and that he would prefer if his Department’s budget did not need to be cut – but that “the reality is that there is no alternative to effecting the required expenditure reductions”.
“No one is under any illusion concerning the difficult nature of these talks and the issues to be addressed,” the minister said in a statement this evening. “It is only those who participate in talks who can contribute to and shape the outcome.
Nothing of value can be achieved by withdrawing from the talks and not engaging.
To so deal with matters is neither in the public interest, in the interests of An Garda Síochána nor even in the interests of their own members and I would ask the AGSI to reconsider the decision that was announced today.
Shatter also took aim at Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins, who earlier described the AGSI’s withdrawal as “further evidence of the increasing arrogance we see” from Shatter, who was presiding “over an unprecedented dismantling of our Garda force”.
“The AGSI’s decision to withdraw from these talks must act as a much needed wake-up call for Minister Shatter,” Collins had said. “He needs to curb his enthusiasm for demonising and dismissing those who disagree with him, and start recognising the damaging impact of the cuts he has handed down.”
Shatter said Fianna Fáil governments were to blame for the “financial disaster” Ireland was now recovering from.
“If I were Deputy Niall Collins I would refrain from making hypocritical comment and engaging in self-serving disingenuous political rhetoric based on the assumption that the general public is suffering from amnesia,” the minister asserted.
“It is time that he acknowledged that it is his Party that is responsible for the position in which we find ourselves.”