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The Garda Commissioner has just met with the people behind the 'low Garda morale' survey

The survey by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has found that Garda morale is running “dangerously low” at present.

12/10/2015 Antony Golden Murdered Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Updated 14.54

THE GARDA ORGANISATION behind a new survey in which Garda morale has been shown to be ‘dangerously low’, has held a meeting with the Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan in which to voice their concerns.

“We raised the issue of work overload on our members and how roles and responsibilities continue to be increased, but not defined,” the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) said in a statement following this morning’s meeting.

Reacting to increased roles and responsibilities and ‘role-creep’ the Commissioner advised that this area was being looked at.
AGSI advised the Commissioner that our members would not be working the extra 30 hours under the Haddington Road Agreement from 1 January.

A series of issues were on the table for the meeting including Garda roles and responsibilities, morale, and the Lansdowne Road Agreement (which the AGSI have rejected).

According to the AGSI, the Commissioner reacted to the news of poor Garda morale saying it is “a sad reflection on how members feel and we need to close this gulf”.

The Commissioner further said that a wellness strategy along with a reward and recognition system will be introduced into the organisation.

“While we welcome the opportunity to have met with the Commissioner our members’ concerns remain our priority. They fear inaction and we certainly hope this will not be what transpires in the months to come from Garda management,” the AGSI added in its statement.

Earlier

The AGSI survey released this morning has found that gardaí in Ireland are running dangerously low on morale at present.

The survey found that large amounts of gardaí at the rank of sergeant and inspector are dissatisfied with many different facets of their work.

57% of the 515 respondents (just over a quarter of those polled) to the survey said that they saw their own personal morale at work as being either low or very low.

68% said similar about the morale within their team or unit, while a massive 87% said that morale within the force as a whole was low.

8/12/2015. Anti Austerity Campaigns Protests Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Reasons for this wholesale dissatisfaction are varied.

70% of respondents are very dissatisfied at the rate of restoration of pay lost due to emergency financial legislation.

47% are not happy with their workload. 46% similarly are not happy with the level of promotion opportunities available, while 71% of respondents are not happy with their career development in general within the gardaí.

Management concerns and negotiation rights as regards pay and conditions seem to be the key issues.

“There is a gulf, a gaping chasm between management in HQ and the cold face of policing,” said one Garda respondent to the survey.

Lack of support for people on the ground, lack of clear guidance and support around water protests and demonizing of Gardai on social media.
Mostly there is a complete lack of respect.

Reaction

“While these figures don’t come as a surprise to us in the AGSI, we feel that they may come as a surprise to Garda Management who present a different view in media interviews,” said president of the AGSI Tim Galvin in relation to the survey.

25/3/2015 Gardai at Oireachtas Committees Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Earlier, speaking on RTE’s Today with Seán O’Rourke, the association’s vice president Antoinette Cunningham said that the “lack of support for Garda management at a local level” was of key concern.

In particular, Cunningham is hopeful that the Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan will engage with the AGSI following the results of the survey.

“We want the Commissioner to show her support,” she said.

Now is the time to modernise, there is scope for improvement in the Garda organisation. There are too many senior officers in the gardaí at present.

Cunningham said that “spreading the workload” would help to improve morale.

Manpower would certainly help. But we also want the opportunity to go in there and talk about Garda pay.
Originally published 11.50am

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