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Thursday 30 March 2017

Cash-strapped gardai demand scrapping of ban on 'nixers'

Tom Brady Security Editor

CASH-strapped gardai are demanding a change in the rules to allow them do "nixers" as bouncers or barmen.

At the moment, gardai are prevented by regulation from taking up a list of other jobs in their own time, including employment as bouncers -- or other posts in the security industry -- and work in pubs.

The banned posts are outlined in the Garda Code, although they can hold second jobs in other areas to boost their take-home pay.

They also want the removal of another regulation, which states that if they have civil debts, such as the failure to meet mortgage repayments, they face dismissal from the force.

The calls for rule changes will be made at the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association, which gets under way in Limerick city this evening.

Delegates representing 11,600 rank and file gardai will debate a series of motions, highlighting the financial hardship being suffered by their colleagues as a result of cuts to pay and allowances.

The motion seeking changes to the regulations in the Garda Code has been tabled by the association's central executive committee and the Sligo-Leitrim branch.

The executive committee is also proposing a debate at the conference on the refusal of the Government to provide assistance for mortgage holders experiencing serious debt and negative equity, compounded by imposed pay cuts and "in light of the unlimited bailout for bankers, builders and developers".

Four motions on pay include a condemnation of the arbitrary manner in which the cuts were implemented; a demand on the Government to reverse the measures; a proposed withdrawal from the Towards 2016 pay agreement, particularly in relation to changes in work practices and co-operation with the Garda Reserve; and a call to be able to negotiate directly with their employers.

Proposal

Apart from pay, the conference will discuss a recommendation from Dublin south central branch that legislation be introduced to include a mandatory 12-year sentence for the specific offence of a gratuitous assault on a garda.

The rank and file gardai are also looking for a complete review of the garda fleet and all safety equipment, further investment in specialist forensic training and a fresh look at the current community policing model. And a proposal will be made for the appointment of an independent ombudsman, who would be the final arbitrator in all bullying and harassment cases.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy are both due to address the conference tomorrow afternoon.

Irish Independent

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