Sunday 28 December 2014

Public won’t be put at risk by protest action, gardai insist

Sarah Stack

Published 22/02/2013 | 08:55

THE public will not be put at risk when gardai restrict work practices and stop using their own cars and equipment for work, officials have claimed.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) said people will have to wait to see what impact the "withdrawal of goodwill" will have, but insisted officers would not be breaking the law with the action.

John Parker, GRA president, said gardai have been providing a sticking plaster to an under-resourced force by using personal cars, mobile phones, laptops and cameras - all which will stop indefinitely from today.

"The public will not be put at risk," Mr Parker said.

"But it will be up to managers to manage the situation."

Elsewhere, the association's 11,300 members will not volunteer to work on days off for non-public duties such as policing sporting events or concerts.

They will only drive official Garda vehicles when on duty, and officers who have not passed the full driver training courses will not drive official cars.

Meanwhile, the GRA executive will continue to stage protests at official events for the EU Presidency.

Up to 30 gardai yesterday protested outside public sector pay talks in Dublin amid claims they have been frozen out of negotiations for more cuts.

The GRA executive criticised the public service committee of Congress for negotiating cuts behind closed doors on their behalf when gardai cannot be granted trade union status or form a union.

Mr Parker said those involved in the talks had no concept of the dangers gardai faced.

"There's no danger money allowance, no public order allowance, and no allowance for getting stabbed or shot," he said.

"You cannot compare garda work to the average industrial worker, but that's what those guys are doing inside."

Justice minister Alan Shatter said it was unfortunate GRA members staged the protest and would not participate in the talks.

He said every other public sector representative body was representing the best interests of their members by seeking to influence the shape of the outcome through constructive engagement in the process.

Press Association

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