Colleagues of murdered detective attack Shatter over plans to cut pay
DIVISIONAL colleagues of murdered detective Adrian Donohoe last night attacked Justice Minister Alan Shatter over the latest assault on their pay and conditions.
A heated meeting of the local Louth branch of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) was critical of the minister over the new proposals to slash their allowances and the reduction of the strength of the force.
It came as there was overwhelming support from rank-and-file garda nationwide for a 'Blue Flu' protest against cuts to pay.
GRA branches in south Dublin, Laois and Offaly last night all backed the Blue Flu proposal and overwhelmingly voted 'no confidence' in Mr Shatter.
South Dublin GRA also demanded that the union's executive come up with a detailed proposal for a work-to-rule by February 18 next.
They have also ruled out gardai working in secure hospitals if prison officers take industrial action.
GRA branches in Tipperary, Cork city, north Cork and Limerick have also backed Blue Flu proposals. Support is also expected from GRA branches in Louth and Kerry.
The feedback from the branches will be considered by a meeting of the 32-strong central executive committee of the association in Dublin today.
A number of branches want the central executive to consider a Blue Flu protest rather than a phased escalation from a work to rule.
But many of the executive are known to favour a scaled form of protest, leading up to a 'Blue Flu' only if other action is unsuccessful.
During a meeting in Tipperary two emotional female gardai told colleagues how they feared they would lose their homes because they could no longer afford to meet their financial commitments.
Another delegate, a father with less than 10 years' service, said he had only €17 left each week after he had paid his bills. His home, which he had bought before the recession, was in negative equity.
Members are furious that, added to existing cuts of 14pc, the latest proposals would amount to a reduction in garda pay of more than 20pc compared with 2007 levels.
Final proposals have not yet been tabled by the Department of Justice.
But an association briefing document said that if the cuts are imposed, some gardai will face reductions in their wages of almost €600 per month by January 2015.