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Gardaí: Some officers are worse off than people on the dole

Vice President Ciaran O’Neill said people are going into work “barely able to feed their families, juggling what bills to pay”.

Updated 12pm

GARDA PAY CUTS have left some officers on incomes lower than people on social welfare, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference heard today.

Four motions on pay cuts have passed this morning at the conference, with delegates calling for the government to restore their wages to what they were before the public pay agreements.

Speaking in favour of one of the four motions on pay, delegate Piaras O’Sullivan said cuts and the pension levy have made gardaí worse off than many people who are on the dole and living in social housing.

President Dermot O’Brien said wage cuts under the public pay agreements have left some members in dire financial difficulty.

“We want our pay back now,” O’Brien said.

It’s time for the government to pay us back for the courage we have shown in the past seven years.

According to the GRA President, some members are  ”sleeping in their cars” overnight because the only accommodation they can afford is miles away from their station and the way their shifts work means they would only be in their beds for a couple of hours.

In other European cities, like London, for example, O’Brien said there is specific accommodation earmarked for frontline workers like gardaí and medical staff and this is something GRA members would like to see introduced here.

Vice President Ciaran O’Neill said people are going into work “barely able to feed their families, juggling what bills to pay”.

New members who have been recently recruited are, perhaps, hardest hit by the reduction in garda pay. O’Brien said they are being recruited into a “poverty trap”. They are no longer entitled to rent allowance and many are being sent to areas with high rents on a “vastly reduced wage”.

“Their morale before the job even begins is at a low ebb – imagine what they’re going to be like in twenty years’ time.”

We’ll be reporting from this year’s GRA Annual Delegate Conference in Tullow, over the next two days so keep an eye out and follow @michellehtweet for updates throughout the day.

Read: Machine guns, tazers and pay rises on agenda for rank and file gardaí>

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