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Sam Boal

'I am astonished': Condemnation by gardaí of "mutiny" comments made by public pay chairman

The AGSI and GRA have said the comments are unhelpful at a time when their members are being balloted on a new pay deal.

THERE WAS WIDESPREAD criticism of comments made by chairman of the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) Kevin Duffy that the potential garda strikes amounted to mutiny.

Speaking at an industrial relations conference this morning, Duffy questioned the legality of the proposed action, according to RTÉ.

Both the AGSI and GRA, which represent middle management and rank-and-file gardaí respectively, both hit out at the comments with AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham calling on Duffy to retract the remarks, describing them as “extremely damaging and divisive”.

But Duffy, speaking on Drivetime with Mary Wilson on RTÉ Radio One this afternoon, said he was “commenting only on the methods by which they {gardaí} went about pursuing their claims”.

He added that the Labour Court had made its recommendations and that, as a former chairman of the court himself, he believed those recommendations were “absolutely justified”.

GRA general secretary Pat Ennis said he was “astonished” by the remarks and said any confidence the GRA had in a fair hearing at the (PSPC) had diminished since the comments.

2/11/2016 Garda Strike. GRA president Ciaran O Nei GRA president Ciaran O Neill(Front Left) and General Secretary Pat Ennis(Front Right) arrive with negotiators last month.

Ennis said:

I am astonished that such comments would be publicly stated by the chairman of a State body designed to serve all employees equally.

Gardaí are currently voting on whether or not to accept Labour Court recommendations which would see the restoration of rent allowance as well an immediate increase in pay.

‘Unfounded and hugely damaging’

AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham asked whether or not Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe had confidence in Duffy.

The PSPC chairman was only appointed last month to the role.

Cunningham said: “The National Executive of this association read the comments in the media today and were shocked that a government-appointed, and supposedly independent chairman, would articulate such views which we believe are unfair, unfounded and hugely damaging to relations between this association and the PSPC.”

Duffy said that his comments will have “no implication”at all for the role that the PSPC will perform.

Read: Public sector unions are not happy about garda pay increases >

Read: Jury discharged from murder trial after they spot 29 second gap in crucial CCTV evidence >

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