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AGSI General Secretary Antoinette Cunningham. Sam Boal

Online domestic violence training, rosters and pay all key issues at garda conference

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors begin their annual conference today in Killarney, Co Kerry.

MIDDLE RANKING GARDAÍ are set for an industrial relations fight with the Government regarding pay and rostering while the use of online training for domestic violence is also set to be a major topic at their annual conference. 

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has criticised the manner in which gardaí are trained – with much of their training taking place online.

They believe that the use of online training for complex crime investigations such as money laundering, online fraud and domestic violence should be changed back to classroom-based lectures. 

AGSI is set to confront Minister for Justice Helen McEntee later today over an impasse around a proposed new rostering scheme.

There is also an emergency motion proposed around a 1% pay increase which the garda representative body believes is not in line with current inflation. 

In 19 motions before the conference in Killarney, the garda sergeants inspectors will discuss problems around the use of online training of gardaí.

One major area for garda members is a massive increase in bureaucracy which they believe is taking operational sergeants and inspectors off the streets. 

The motion concerns the Investigation Management System which monitors gardaí performing routine tasks in the completion of investigation files. 

Dublin gardaí are also requesting urgent action to ensure that there are enough custody suites in garda stations in Dublin and that there be a dedicated and well trained garda assigned to care for prisoners. 

There are also motions covering the training of management to debrief gardaí after major incidents, that representative members receive training in how to handle complaints and that a new rank of Chief Inspector be created.  

For members, the rostering and pay concerns are the major issues and The Journal has previously reported on how this issue is in danger of becoming a significant industrial relations problem.   

Antoinette Cunningham, AGSI General Secretary, who has been part of the negotiating team at Westmanstown where Garda rosters have been taking place, said the pressure is mounting on the Association from the membership.

“AGSI removed itself from negotiations at Westmanstown on 16 March as what was being proposed was not in the best interest of Sergeants and Inspectors, in our view. We understand there will be an emergency motion before the conference in relation to this matter and we look forward to receiving the views of our delegates,” she said. 

Cunningham confirmed that AGSI has invoked the review clause of the Building Momentum public service pay agreement.

“The 1% pay increase due in October does not meet current inflation rates nor does it meet current economic and cost of living challenges. I will further update members on this matter tomorrow,” she added. 

Minister Helen McEntee will address the conference this evening and Deputy Garda Commissioner Shawna Coxon will attend on behalf of Commissioner Drew Harris tomorrow.

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