We're ready to go to jail over pay freezes - angry gardai
The prospect of strike action by gardaí moved a step closer after the new public sector pay deal came into force today.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) is one of a number of trade unions whose members are facing financial penalties as a result of its failure to sign up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
Around 30,000 gardaí and teachers face the prospect of losing out on pay increases agreed under the Lansdowne Road agreement, which comes into effect today.
GRA members gathered outside the Dáil yesterday in protest against the failure by the Government to carry out a review into garda pay, promised under the previous Haddington Road Agreement. The union insists that it should not face an increment freeze because the pay review never took place.
And the GRA said it will now consider "all options" in terms of industrial action, up to and including strikes. Any such move by gardaí to go on strike would be unprecedented and is prohibited under the Garda Síochána Act.
However, gardaí say they are prepared to face sanctions, including the prospect of jail. The GRA president said the exact form of industrial action will be considered by the union's executive.
Last night, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the "door will remain open" for the GRA to enter talks. Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has warned that major gaps in senior supervisory ranks in the force pose significant risks to its leadership capacity and robust management structures. She told a public meeting of the Policing Authority yesterday there had been a serious reduction in the supervisory ranks over the past few years.