Tánaiste urges Gardaí to suspend strike to await Labour Court decision
TÁNAISTE Frances Fitzgerald has urged gardaí to suspend their threatened strike action.
With more than 12,000 officers poised to down tools tomorrow, Ms Fitzgerald has asked that "the safety and security of our citizens " be considered and that gardaí wait for the recommendations of the Labour Court before going on what would be an unprecedented strike.
Meanwhile she said that she expects Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan to give details of her contingency plan for what happens if the industrial action goes ahead, later today.
Ms Fitzgerald said that in the event of the strike going ahead she wants the public's safety to be maintained, commerce to be allowed to continue, and airports and ports to remain open.
The Labour Court isn't expected to make a recommendation in the dispute until tomorrow at the earliest.
Ms Fitzgerald made her remarks as she attended the launch of Charities Institute Ireland this morning.
“I'm pleased that negotiations have continued and everybody has been willing to engage in negotiations with both the Workplace Relations Commission and indeed the Labour Court,” she said.
“We now await the recommendation of the Labour Court.”
She said the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents more than 10,000 rank and file members, have indicated that they will put the Labour Court recommendations to a ballot.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) are continuing talks today.
“In the context of giving time and space to consider both the results of the ballot and indeed the recommendation of the Labour Court I would ceratainly ask both organisations to suspend their action,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
It was put to Ms Fitzgerald that the GRA has said it won't suspend its action unless the government offers more on pay.
Ms Fitzgerald said that nobody yet knows what the Labour Court recommendation will be or how the garda associations will evaluate it and she repeated her call for them to call off tomorrow's strike.
"So the strike is threatened for tomorrow so in all of those circumstances in terms of the safety and security of our citizens and the space and time to consider the Labour Court decision and a ballot taking place I would ask both organisations to suspend their action.
Asked about contingency plans, Ms Fitzgerald said: "Clearly nothing replaces 12,800 gardaí. That's the reality of the situation.
"Every effort will be made in the event of the threat of this action going ahead to provide the best possible contingency plan.
"That's what the Garda Commissioner has been working on over the last number of weeks.
"In the event of a strike clearly we want to allow commerce to continue, our airports to remain open, our ports to remain open and security and safety to be provided to our citizens."
"I have no doubt that later in the day the Garda Commissioner will be informing people of the precise arrangements," Ms Fitzgerald said.