GRA committee member declines €200 gift to spouse
At least one spouse of a Garda Representative Association (GRA) committee member will not be spending a €200 Christmas gift.
The Irish Independent has learned at least one the GRA's executive committee has said he declined a controversial €200 voucher sent to spouses of committee members.
The vouchers, sent out last week, have caused anger among rank-and-file GRA members. However, the practice of gifting partners or spouses of the 31-member executive committee has been in place for at least eight years.
In an email seen by the Irish Independent, a Dublin member of the executive said his family would not be accepting the festive gesture.
"I must acknowledge that this proposal has caused a great deal of upset and anger amongst the membership. However, I am not attempting to absolve myself of responsibility and can confirm my spouse will not benefit from this payment, as it has already been returned," the email read.
Among divisional members, there was "no illusion as to the amount of anger that this proposal has caused" the Dublin GRA member also said in the email.
It is understood that not all committee members were present at the meeting which discussed this year's vouchers.
A spokesman for the GRA was not able to confirm if any of the vouchers had been returned or how that would be managed in the event of some members declining to accept it.
The association is standing by its decision to send the voucher to those who are in a relationship with members of the executive committee as a festive gesture.
"Everyone's entitled to their own views," the spokesman said when asked about the member who has said his partner will not accept the gift.
"This €200 voucher was paid as a thank you to all the spouses and partners of the unpaid committee members who often work on their rest days, days off, weekend and are often on the phone.
"It's a thank you and a mark of the esteem in which the association holds those partners for facilitating and supporting them," the spokesman said. "A voucher of €200 was sent out last week to all spouses and partners. It's happened every year for some considerable time and it's within revenue guidelines for a once-off annual gift."
All members of the GRA exec are rank-and-file gardaí whose work with the association is unpaid and separate from their garda duties.
Each division in the country is represented on the committee.