Thursday 17 August 2017

Government will not let admiration for gardaí blind it during pay talks - Tánaiste

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Picture by Fergal Phillips
Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Picture by Fergal Phillips

Phillip Ryan

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the Government will not let the “admiration and respect” it has for gardai “blind” it from the consequences of settling the pay dispute outside the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Speaking in the Dail, Ms Fitzgerald said the country will face “very significant challenges” if the proposed Garda strike goes ahead next week.

“We all have great admiration for the difficult job which members of An Garda Síochána do day in day out in protecting our community,” she said.

“But we cannot let that admiration and respect blind us to the consequences of trying to resolve this dispute outside general policy in relation to public service pay,” she added.

The Tánaiste said the challenge will be to reach an agreement with gardai within the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

“The agreement included very significant benefits, including the restoration of the rent allowance worth over €4,000 or 17% annually to new recruits, and also in the case of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), the lifting of the increment freeze that has been in place since 1 July,” she added.

Ms Fitzgerald said she was “very disappointed” the GRA did not sign up to the agreement.

“The reality of any negotiations is that both sides do not get everything they want but we must continue in the coming days to work with great intensity to map a way forward,” she said.

Frances Fitzgerald and Noirín O'Sullivan
Frances Fitzgerald and Noirín O'Sullivan

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