Monday 23 October 2017

Fewer than 3pc of gardai support equipment protest

Tom Brady and Ralph Riegel

FEWER than 3pc of the membership of the Garda Representative Association supported the first phase of a campaign of protest action yesterday.

The rank-and-file gardai were asked to 'withdraw goodwill' by refusing to use their personal mobile phones, laptops and cameras for official duties.

It is seen by the association's leadership as the first step in a graduated campaign against public sector pay cuts and the pension levy.

However, fewer than 300 of the 11,800 rank and filers are understood to have signed forms declaring to superintendents they were not using their personal electronic equipment.

The action is due to continue indefinitely and the next phase is expected to be announced at the association's annual conference in Limerick next month.

Association sources last night said the extent of support for the action would not be calculated fully until their central executive committee met before the conference.

But it is known there has been poor support from the membership, with only about 70 out of 4,000 taking part in the action in Dublin.

A small number signed the forms in Cork city, Cork north, Cork west, Galway city, Naas, Portlaoise, Bray, Clare and a handful in Donegal. However, garda stations in the rest of Galway, Limerick, Sligo, Louth, Leitrim, Cavan, Navan, Ashbourne and garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, all recorded no backing.

The four garda representative bodies returned to talks last week on how to re-start negotiations on the Government's controversial financial measures in the public sector. This may have had an impact on the low level of support for action.

The garda bodies were also represented yesterday at the talks, under the chairmanship of Kieran Mulvey, of the Labour Relations Commission.

Gardai have been complaining for some time of being forced to use their personal phones while on duty because of delays in implementing a new communications system. However, they decided not to include use of their private cars in the action, which amounted to a form of "work to rule". The action was chosen as it did not breach garda regulations, but allowed the association to underline its opposition to the cuts.

Irish Independent

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