New GRA leader backs 'corrupt FF' comments as TD calls for sacking
A NEWLY-elected leader of rank-and-file gardai yesterday gave his firm backing to a controversial attack on the Government which provoked a political storm over the force's impartiality.
Damien McCarthy, who took over as president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) last night, said he supported "without reservation" remarks made by his predecessor, Michael O'Boyce.
The row over Mr O'Boyce's intended address to his association's annual conference in Limerick flared up again yesterday as government politicians and others demanded disciplinary action against him.
Mr O'Boyce claimed the Fianna Fail Party had been bought by bankers and speculators and in return it had sacrificed the prosperity of the nation for the benefit of the few.
He also described the Government as national saboteurs and said it had been corrupted by years of power and its only agenda was to protect economic traitors.
A defiant Mr O'Boyce gave no indication he believed he would be disciplined.
He said he had ended his term of office as president and was returning to his home area in Inishowen, Co Donegal, where he intended to serve as a garda for the next decade.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, who scrapped his plans to address the conference when he learned of the content of Mr O'Boyce's intended speech, later said he was not seeking disciplinary action against Mr O'Boyce as his term of office was now ending.
However, Fianna Fail TD for Limerick West, Niall Collins has called for Mr O'Boyce to be dismissed from the force.
The chairman of the Green Party, Dan Boyle, who raised the issue in the Seanad, described the remarks as "treacherous".
Incoming president Damien McCarthy made it clear that he was not backing away from the stance adopted by Mr O'Boyce.
"I supported the outgoing president 100pc in the manner in which he conducted himself, in particular over the last two days here," he said.
He said he intended to fight for the rights of his members and speak out on the issues.
One of his targets was to seek the introduction of a mechanism which would allow rank-and-file gardai to negotiate directly with their employers, instead of sitting at a side table.
He said gardai should be allowed to deal with employers on issues such as the recruitment embargo and their call for the introduction of a 12-year mandatory jail sentence for an unprovoked assault on a garda.
He pressed for the abolition of the garda regulation that prevents them from taking up some part-time jobs. "This is all about choice," he added.
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