GRA sets out 54 reasons to accept deal...but garda views are mixed
Published 12/11/2016 | 02:30
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has produced a paper that leans heavily towards accepting the €40m garda pay deal in a move that will come as a major boost to the Government.
Despite adopting no formal position on the Labour Court recommendation, the GRA will next week circulate a 10-page document to rank-and-file members that details 54 reasons why the deal should be accepted.
These include the warning that negotiations could end up going back to "square one" unless the deal is accepted.
The paper outlines the major financial benefits as a result of the proposals, including the restoration of rent allowance for new recruits, an increase in retirement gratuity and the introduction of a €15 payment for days of leave.
In contrast, the document - obtained by the Irish Independent - sets out just 23 points as to why members should consider rejecting the deal.
These include the fact that it will bring gardaí inside the Lansdowne Road Agreement, an agreement rejected in 2015, as well as the prospect of officers effectively being asked to work a 41-hour shift as a result of the changes.
Other reasons given to vote against the deal include the claim: "We are unique and should be treated as such."
GRA sources last night accepted the paper demonstrates a more compelling case for the acceptance of the deal despite the association's public position.
However, the same sources insisted that members of the GRA's Central Executive Committee (CEC) were adamant no formal position should be adopted at a meeting at its headquarters in Phibsboro on Thursday.
It was felt that after a deeply bruising few days - which almost led to the GRA's chief executive Pat Ennis being toppled - the decision in relation to the Labour Court recommendation should be left to rank-and-file members.
Nonetheless, the Government will be relieved that the 10-page document clearly weighs in behind the proposals by Labour Court chairman Kevin Foley and his team.
The ballot itself will be sent out to members next Friday and is due to be returned by Monday, December 5.
If the recommendation is accepted, the GRA will be brought within the Lansdowne Road Agreement and the Government will be forced to find the €40m required to increase garda pay.
This money will have to be found from within the Department of Justice's current budget - meaning other areas of spending are likely to suffer.
If gardaí decide to reject the recommendation, the consequences for the Government - and wider society - are potentially grave.
The GRA would have to decide whether to revive its plans for industrial action, up to and including strike.
There would also be serious questions hanging over the GRA leadership team, especially Mr Ennis and the association's chairman Ciarán O'Neill, who negotiated this deal.
GRA sources say the view within garda ranks about accepting the deal remains mixed.