RANK AND FILE gardaí have called on whoever forms the next government to fully restore their pay to pre-2008 levels and commit to a substantial recruitment drive.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) said today it will be demanding the newly formed government address a number of “urgent issues” as soon as it comes to power.
These include the re-instatement to the pre-2008 salary of €25,745 for all new garda recruits. Their pay was cut by 10% by the current government, leaving them with a basic wage of €23,171. New recruits also took a hit of €4,017 when their rent allowance was abolished.
The association said it will be demanding pay cuts for all members at garda rank be reversed.
In a statement, the GRA said:
All members of the force, both newer members and incumbents, have suffered consistent cuts to their wages and allowances despite the fact that they are the only public sector grouping working 40 hours a week.
At the representative association’s annual conference last year, the theme was ‘Pay Back Now’, with delegates claiming cuts had left some gardaí worse off than people on the dole and living in social housing.
The conference also heard some officers were sleeping in their cars overnight because the only accommodation they could afford is miles away from their station.
Unable to cover all the bases
Today the GRA also said they want another recruitment drive to restore force numbers.
Currently there are approximately 12,500 members available for duty. This is a reduction of 2,500 since 2010, due to the recruitment moratorium, retirements, long term illness and incentivised career breaks. This amounts to around one in six of all gardaí, and equates to the loss of approximately five million policing hours every year.
The GRA said the reduction of numbers will continue in the next 18 months as 700 members of the force face mandatory retirement, with only 975 new members being recruited during the same timeframe.
Based on these figures, recruitment levels would take 50 years to return to the 2010 figure.
GRA President Dermot O’Brien said gardaí can not be expected to deal with ever-expanding workloads as their numbers diminish.
“Members have reluctantly accepted cuts to their pay and conditions, whilst putting themselves in danger on a daily basis. Such cuts were taken in the knowledge that they would be restored when the country returned to stability. That time has come.”
“Every garda is currently working at optimum capacity and will not be able to replace retired colleagues. The position is that there are not enough gardaí to cover all bases and we urgently need to reverse this situation,” he said.
He called on the new government to recognise the bravery and the daily contribution that gardaí have made and currently make to Irish society.