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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Government 'stumbled, stalled' on strike talks

Published 13/10/2016 | 02:30

Garda Commission Nóirín O'Sullivan arriving for the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality meeting at Leinster House
Garda Commission Nóirín O'Sullivan arriving for the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality meeting at Leinster House

The government has "stumbled and stalled" in its efforts to avert a garda strike, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has been told.

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Fianna Fáil senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee said her party doesn't agree with gardaí going on strike, but she said the threat of industrial action shows "rampant demoralisation and anger within the force".

Pictured at the meeting were (back row) Asst Gda Commissioner Eugene Corcoran; TDs
Clare Daly and Mick Wallace; Gurchand Singh, Garda Analysis Services; and TD Jack Chambers; along with (front row) Asst Gda Commissioner Jack Nolan; TD Colm Brophy, Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan; TD Caoimhghin O Caolain; Joe Nugent, Garda Chief Administration Officer; Deputy Gda Commissioner Donall Ó’Cualáin; and Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee. Credit, @Gardainfo Twitter account
Pictured at the meeting were (back row) Asst Gda Commissioner Eugene Corcoran; TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace; Gurchand Singh, Garda Analysis Services; and TD Jack Chambers; along with (front row) Asst Gda Commissioner Jack Nolan; TD Colm Brophy, Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan; TD Caoimhghin O Caolain; Joe Nugent, Garda Chief Administration Officer; Deputy Gda Commissioner Donall Ó’Cualáin; and Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee. Credit, @Gardainfo Twitter account

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) are considering the action in a row over pay.

The GRA has threatened four days of strikes next month.

Ms Fitzgerald addressed the Seanad on this issue and the upcoming Judicial Appointments Bill.

Ms Clifford-Lee spoke of how deals have been done with entry-level teachers and nurses as well as firefighters in relation to their allowances.

She said the government has been in place five months and it was only on September 23 they thought a deal had been struck with the GRA which subsequently fell through. "It's to be regretted that this government unfortunately has stumbled and stalled in relation to dealing with the challenges facing An Garda Síochána," she said.

Ms Fitzgerald said she met with the GRA "very recently" and they have indicated to her they want to "chart a pathway forward."

She said she is "disappointed" that both Garda organisations are contemplating industrial action but she is "committed to doing everything possible to find a resolution within the very real constraints that exist in terms of public sector pay".

"Everything that can be done is being done. The Government's focus at this stage is on negotiation and we are looking for a pathway forward," she said.

Earlier at the Oireachtas Justice committee, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan said she is confident talks to avert industrial action will bring a resolution.

Irish Independent

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