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Garda Commissioner orders gardaí to work on strike day, calling it 'unprecedented' and 'gravely damaging'

It is unclear what action will be taken if gardaí ignore the directive.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated 9.06pm

THE GARDA COMMISSIONER has issued a directive ordering gardaí to come to work on Friday, when a strike by three ranks of the force is planned.

The move comes after the Garda Representative Association (GRA) last night rejected government proposals. The executive of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) rejected a similar deal late this afternoon.

In her directive, seen by, Nóirín O’Sullivan acknowledges members have “given selflessly to protect the public and the State.”

However, she says she believes the proposed course of action “may irreparably compromise our authority to police the State.

In addition, it will negatively impact on public confidence in An Garda Síochána and jeopardise the respect in which An Garda Síochána and each member of the garda organisation is held.

She describes the current situation as ‘unprecedented’, and says if the strike action proposed for Friday goes ahead it would be “gravely damaging for the delivery of a policing and security service for this country as well as for An Garda Síochána as an organisation and each individual member of An Garda Síochána.”

She goes on to remind gardaí of their statutory obligation to perform their duty.

In the letter issued to gardaí today, O’Sullivan instructed that all annual leave and rest days are to be cancelled, in accordance with her statutory functions under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, to ‘direct and control’.

In these circumstances, members are hereby directed to make themselves available for duty during the period 7am on 4 November, 2016 to 7am on 5 November, 2016.

One source said this action would “inflame the whole thing”.

Superintendents have been asked to contact each garda individually to ask them if they will be available for work. On the day, two 12-hour shifts will be introduced to ensure a full service is provided.

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Discipline ’for another day’

It is unclear what action will be taken if gardaí ignore the directive. In a press conference this evening, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald did confirm that “there will be possible disciplinary action for gardaí who don’t show up for work, but that is for another day”.

The Tánaiste along with Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal O’Donohoe invited members of the gardaí to a meeting tonight at 7pm in an attempt to solve the dispute before Friday.

They released a statement later saying that though there was a ”useful exchange of views” there was no resolution, but “all involved remain committed to continuing attempts to reach a resolution”.

Read: Strike likely to go ahead as rank-and-file gardaí unanimously reject proposals>

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