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Garda unions begin industrial relations dispute against management over new anti-corruption unit

The unit was launched in June but unions say it was introduced without consultation.

Assistant Commissioner Pat Clavin speaking at the launch of the GACU.
Assistant Commissioner Pat Clavin speaking at the launch of the GACU.
Image: Sasko Lazarov

AN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS dispute has broken out between garda representative bodies, civilian staff unions and garda management over the introduction of the Garda Anti-Corruption Unit (GACU). 

 The new unit was launched in June with a press conference in Kevin Street Garda Station. It is led by Assistant Commissioner Pat Clavin who was previously in charge of the Criminal Assets Bureau.

But unions have criticised the new unit amid claims that there was no consultation with them ahead of its implementation. 

It is understood that Fórsa, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) and Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS) met yesterday with the unit to discuss its implementation.

Garda representative bodies declared an industrial relations dispute immediately after the meeting yesterday evening.

The GRA and AGSI did not comment on the matter when contacted by The Journal, while AGSI referred only to a statement contained in a tweet.

However, The Journal has obtained a message sent to rank-and-file gardaí by the GRA. 

It read: “The GRA attended a meeting this afternoon with the Garda Anti-Corruption Unit to address the ill-informed reporting by media sources following the premature public launch of the Anti-Corruption Unit on 1 June 2021.

“The GRA take exception at the unilateral attempt by Garda management to introduce policy change without consultation and agreement.

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“The Staff Associations including the GRA, AGSI, FORSA, AHCPS declared that we are in dispute on this matter and have invoked the dispute resolution mechanism.

“The dispute with management is their failure to observe the information and consultation provisions of the public service agreements, in maintaining industrial peace and stability. The GRA sought that the anti-corruption policies are withdrawn from the portal with immediate effect and the associated media coverage corrected.”

A union source said that Gardaí and civilian staff are not expected to consider a full strike on the matter yet, but it’s understood that the issue may come before the Workplace Relations Commission if the dispute resolution mechanism does not work. 

A garda spokesperson refused to comment on the dispute, stating: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on internal industrial relations.”

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