Friday 26 May 2017

'Shift work is the new smoking' - GRA demand review after new figures suggest gardaí die younger

Exclusive figures released to Independent.ie indicate lower life expectancy for gardaí

Inset Ciaran O'Neill
Inset Ciaran O'Neill
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

RANK and file gardaí have called for an independent survey on the effects of shift work after new figures suggest they die younger.

Official garda numbers, supplied to Independent.ie, reveal that officers collect pensions for an average of 19 years.

According to An Garda Síochána the typical member, of garda rank, retires aged 55 and a half.

The two figures combined would suggest that the gardaí live to approximately 74.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) have pointed out that this is significantly lower than the overall life expectancy in this country.

According to the Central Statistics Office, in the period 2010-2012, life expectancy at birth was 78.4 years for males and 82.8 years for females.

Garda Representative Association President Ciaran O'Neill
Garda Representative Association President Ciaran O'Neill

GRA President Ciaran O’Neill has called for a review of the working arrangements for gardaí in light of these figures.

He said: “We have always believed that shift work is detrimental to the health of members and these figures would seem to indicate that. In our view, shift work is the ‘new smoking’ of occupational hazards.

He continued: “While we recognise that shift work is a necessity for 24 hour policing, and for other roles that require 24 hour cover such as nursing and the fire service, more needs to be done to understand the physical and psychological effects of shift work and more action also needs to be taken to minimise these effects.”

Asked what should be done about it Mr O’Neill said: “We believe that an independent survey on the effects of shift work should be conducted to give us a better insight into how it impacts on the physical and mental well-being of members.”

Gardaí can retire as young as 50 as long as they have accrued 30 years service, while members must retire on reaching the age of 60.

Separate figures, released to Independent.ie, have revealed that the average annual pension payment received by a rank and file garda is €29,231. A sergeant can expect to collect €33,287 while the corresponding figure for Inspectors is €36,332.

The figures rise dramatically for senior officers and retired Commissioners are paid an average annual pension payment of €94,757.

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