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Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie
Housing Crisis

Gardaí want allowance for members stationed in rent pressure zones

The GRA said this issue is particularly impacting on new recruits who are on lower incomes.

GARDAÍ ARE CALLING for a new allowance to be introduced for members who are stationed in or near rent pressure zones.

The issue was raised at the Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference in Killarney, Co Kerry.

Graham O’Neill, who represents members in the Dublin South Central division, said gardaí who are working in high-rent areas are struggling with accommodation and living costs, particularly new recruits who are on a salary of €30,296 when they leave the Garda College.

“New recruits leaving Templemore have absolutely no say in where they end up being station. They get told where they’re being sent and it’s up to them then to look for accommodation,” O’Neill said.

“At that point not only is it a task whether they decide to live close to where they work or commute that extra distance, but this is about not only the rental cost but the actual cost of working in these areas. Take for example childcare, it’s significantly more expensive in areas that have been designated as a rent pressure zone than it is in other parts of the country.”

Day to day costs of commuting in and out of a city centre station, somewhere like Pearse St in Dublin, is significantly more expensive for those members that it would be in other parts of the country that haven’t been designated as rent pressure zones.

There are currently 22 rent pressure zones across the country.

“It’s a national issue – it’s right across the country, it’s not just Dublin. It affects counties Louth, Meath, Wicklow, Limerick, Cork and Galway,” he said.

O’Neill’s division has put forward a motion at the conference demanding that the GRA pursue this allowance. He said it could be a standalone allowance, or in the form of tax relief for members working in those areas who are paying higher rents and also have a higher cost of living.

“There is a sense there that despite the upturn in things at the moment, members are still finding it difficult to get by day to day. And this is something that compounds it even further; when they have no choice over where they are sent. The costs put on them can be significantly higher compared to being sent to a remote part of the country.”

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