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Commissioner 'more interested in corporate image than welfare of gardaí'

The association representing middle-ranking gardaí said members want their boss to stand up for them.

Image: Rollingnews.ie

THE PRESIDENT OF the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has criticised the Garda Commissioner this evening, accusing her of being more concerned about the corporate image of the force than the welfare of its members.

Speaking to reporters ahead of his opening address at the AGSI annual conference in Westport, county Mayo, Tim Galvin said middle-ranking members were becoming increasingly frustrated about the lack of support from Nóirín O’Sullivan and the Minister for Justice.

“In December we did a survey, 86% said to us morale is low or very low,” he said. “The importance for that is we’re trying to get across to the minister and to the commissioner that we want some kind of reaction.”

This year we gave her the results of our morale survey in the hope that she would look at welfare and look after our people. We have heard nothing since December, so it’s more of the same. We’re not getting the response from the people – our employer first of all and especially from the minister.
We just feel she’s getting her priorities wrong, she should be looking after the people who work for her; the people on the street, the frontline staff – not the corporate image, which is the way the [Commissioner's] job seems to be gone.

He said members feel the commissioner is not standing up for them, in her failure to highlight the need for more resources. .

“Because resources are so short, people are going a ten hour shift without a break, constantly out on the street call after call,” he said. “They’re physically worn out and at the end of the six day term all they have is their break to look forward to because they’re physically shattered.”

The commissioner is due to make a speech at the conference tomorrow.

Gangland criminals 

In his opening address in Westport this evening, Galvin also accused the Minister for Justice of “tying our hands” and preventing the association from representing members in full pay negotiations.

“We are different to other employees. We wear body protection and some of our members are armed in response to the changing demographic of our societies. The impact of gangland criminals and their ability to arm themselves has only heightened the dangers associated with being a member of An Garda Síochana,” he said.

Galvin, who addressed his speech to the minister, though she was unable to attend due to ongoing talks on the formation of a government, went on to say:

“Our treatment by your government has only increased the lack of morale within the organisation. The bottom line Minister is that the people represented here today want action not promises. They want to see meaningful negotiation on the pay and conditions under which they are employed.”

We’ll be reporting from the AGSI annual delegate conference in Westport over the next three days, so keep an eye out and follow @michellehtweet for updates throughout the day. 

Read: Body cameras, terrorist threats and wages on the agenda for sergeants and inspectors>

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