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Shatter tells garda superintendents he's 'sorry they felt excluded' from Croke Park talks

The Justice Minister also said that recruitment would now have to be delayed because there must be funds to pay for them.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Alan Shatter has told garda superintendents that he is sorry they “felt excluded” from negotiations on the proposals for the extension of the Croke Park Agreement.

Shatter was speaking at their association’s annual conference in Naas, Co Kildare. He said it had been brought to his attention that there were two issues of importance to members that required clarification and that he would rise the matter with Minister Howlin.

“I understand that while during this process, an official in my department kept in contact so that you were kept informed as to how matters were progressing I am of course conscious that there was substantially less engagement with bodies representing those in the public service whose gross income exceeds €65,000 including your association,” he said.

Shatter told members of the association he has asked his officials to look at the flaws and defects identified in the process, including those involving An Garda Síochana.

He said that the government was “disappointed” at the outcome of the ballot on Croke Park but that the payroll savings still needed to be made.

Delay in recruitment

The minister also said that if new members of the force are to be recruited, there must be funds to pay them. “In this context, unfortunately, the situation I now face is that there is currently no new agreement on public pay issues but there is still a projected €300 million budgetary shortfall.

Shatter said this meant that his bringing a proposal for new recruits to cabinet will “obviously have to be delayed”.

While the minster told garda superintendents that he understood the reaction of members to proposals for a reduction in pay and pensions, he asked “everyone to reflect on the realities”.

“We cannot go on spending more than we take in and we cannot expect others to simply give us funds to indefinitely facilitate our doing so,” he added.

Related: ‘I have given as much as I can’ – garda speaks out against pay cuts>
More: Garda Commissioner says ‘more needs to be done with fewer resources’>
Read: Gardaí feel like ‘sitting ducks’ after decision to withdraw Uzi submachine guns>

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