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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018
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'Morale is non-existent': Gardaí stage protest over pay at Dáil gates

The action comes after GRA President Ciaran O’Neill said they were ruling nothing out in terms of industrial action.

Updated 1.33pm

Source: Leah Farrell

Our members have struggled over the last few years. They’ve suffered pay cuts since 2009 – their debts haven’t reduced.

A GROUP OF rank-and-file gardaí staged a protest outside the gates of the Dáil today, calling on TDs to support their demand to have their pay restored to pre-recession levels.

The action follows the breakdown of talks between the association and government officials in recent days over garda salaries.

The Lansdowne Road Agreement, which was rejected by the GRA membership, is due to come into force tomorrow and Garda Representative Association Vice President Jim Mulligan said his members’ rejection of the deal will result in a pay freeze from tomorrow.

This will impact on anyone with less than 17 years’ service in the force, or 62% of rank-and-file gardaí, as they will not receive the standard salary increments as they progress.

Source: Leah Farrell

“I mean, somebody could be due an increment of €1,000 or more this year and they won’t get that and it means a lot to people with families and kids going back to school in September,” he said.

Our members have struggled over the last few  years. They’ve suffered pay cuts since 2009 now. Their debts haven’t reduced so they’re dependant on these increments to keep things going and it’s a serious situation that’s about to unfold.

Morale

The government has failed to honour its commitment in the previous pay deal, to conduct a review of garda pay. This was supposed to be completed in 2014 and had started, but its chairperson resigned last month and no replacement has been chosen.

Members of the GRA protesting today said they could not accept a new public pay deal until the government keeps up its side of the previous agreement.

robbie Louth representative Robbie Peelo with GRA Vice President Jim Mulligan. Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

Robbie Peelo, who represents gardaí in the Louth division, described morale in the force as “non-existent”.

He spoke in particular about new recruits, as a number of trainee gardaí were moved to Dundalk at short notice to address resourcing issues near the border after the murder of Garda Tony Golden.

“I’ve got lads that were sent up because of tragic circumstances above in the Louth division, sent from all over the country to us, and the government are telling them they’re not entitled to a rent allowance to do so.

“They’re then expected to go out and do armed checkpoints on the border with colleagues supporting them from either the ERU or the Regional support units. And the only reason it’s safe for them to do those checkpoints is because we have armed cover. To do that for €23,000 a year is an absolute disgrace.”

Kicked, punched, spat at

The organisation’s president Ciaran O’Neill also spoke of the plight of the new recruits who he said are being paid just over the minimum wage.

Source: Leah Farrell

“For this they are being kicked at, spat at, punched, threatened and abused and this is all in the course of a day’s work. Now the government are denying them their increments, meaning they will be stuck on this salary for another two years.

“This is a totally unfair situation and it reflects badly on the government that they are now punishing the new recruits of An Garda Síochána.”

He told reporters that if pay freezes are implemented, further protests and industrial action will follow, and he is ruling nothing out.

Read: Rank-and-file gardaí won’t rule out strike as talks with government break down>

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