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Wednesday 28 June 2017

Contingency plans for Garda strike are only in their infancy

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Damien Eagers
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Damien Eagers

Tom Brady and Liam Cosgrove

Contingency plans to police the nation during four days of strike action in November are still in their infancy.

Embattled Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan met with her management team yesterday after returning from a conference in the United States.

Senior officers also held talks with leaders of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) for initial discussions on contingency arrangements.

But sources said last night those talks were preliminary and further meetings would be held in the next few days.

The GRA has requested its members in the Emergency Response Unit and the five Regional Support Units report for work on the four Fridays scheduled for strike, while its members in the Technical Bureau will be on-call if a serious incident takes place.

But the involvement of the AGSI in the contingency plans has yet be spelled out.

Garda management is hoping that some immigration officers will also be exempt from the industrial action and will turn up for work at air and sea ports.

Meanwhile, the two representative groups will hold further discussions early next week with Justice officials.

Sources said they would continue to explore avenues to find a compromise solution to meet demands without breaching the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The GRA remains outside the agreement, but the AGSI had previously accepted its terms by a 70-30 majority before changing its view at a special delegate conference last Monday, as a result of what members regarded as a very unsatisfactory meeting with Department of Public Expenditure officials.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said yesterday the Government was working towards a solution.

"The difficulty we have is three unions out of 26 who are essentially saying pay restoration has to happen now just for them and that's just not possible because everyone should have their incomes restored to what they were before the (economic) crisis but that can't be done in one day or one year," he said.

"It's going to take two or three years and that's why we need to stand by the Lansdowne Road Agreement."

Irish Independent

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