Gardai to challenge new sick pay rules
THE four bodies representing all gardai up to the rank of assistant commissioner have banded together to bring a High Court challenge to regulations radically overhauling their sick leave entitlements.
The unprecedented move by the associations was taken after they learnt that the regulations had been signed by Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin, allegedly before they had been properly consulted.
The associations say that the rule changes governing sick pay are "irrational and incomprehensible". The new regulations, they say, will effectively halve their sick leave payments.
The issue has become highly controversial in the 13,000-strong force and is expected to feature on the agenda for the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors' annual conference, which gets under way in Killarney this evening.
President of the Association of Garda Superintendents, Gerry Smith, told his colleagues that the issue was very serious as it affected the conditions of service of all gardai.
He said that while a meeting had taken place with department officials, it was devoid of any meaningful consultation and negotiations.
He claimed that the High Court action might have been avoided if the associations had been given an opportunity to make their case to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in a meaningful manner.