Gardaí will stage conference to debate aborted pay strike
Rank and file gardaí are to hold a special delegate conference to fully debate the fallout from decisions made by the leadership of their association before they called off their threatened pay strike last year.
A row resulted in several contentious motions being tabled for the agenda of the Garda Representative Association's (GRA) annual conference in Galway. But delegates decided yesterday to defer discussion of the motions to a two-day conference to be held in January.
Association general secretary Pat Ennis said that the association had started a strategic and operational review and had engaged an external agency, Ampersand Consulting.
"It is a genuine effort to professionalise our own association and how we go about our business," he said.
It was decided that considering the rules and Constitution should form part of that review and it was more appropriate to defer the debate until the review had been completed and to take any recommendations in that context, Mr Ennis added.
The general secretary said there had been issues "surrounding the granting of derogations last November and the circumstances behind it".
He was referring to the controversial decision made by the leadership following discussions with Garda management on the eve of the proposed strike in November to allow members of a wide range of special units to be exempt from any strike action and to carry out their duties as normal.
That decision was made without consultation with the membership and led to a number of motions being tabled for this week's conference including a vote of no confidence in the general secretary.
Mr Ennis said yesterday he intended to brief the delegates on the circumstances leading up to the decision during a closed session of the conference.
He said he had no doubt he had the support of the members.
The removal of a motion of no confidence in him, he said, had been made by the central executive.
"There was another motion that contained defamatory comments about me and other persons and legal advice recommended that it be removed and the executive decided to remove the other one also.
"There was no discretion in relation to the defamatory motion.
"I would have had no difficulty addressing a motion of no confidence in relation to me in conference at all," Mr Ennis added.
He said he was not aware of a letter, which had been handed by representatives of nine divisions to Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, complaining about the withdrawal of the motions.
It is understood the decision to allow some of the specialist units to be exempt from any strike action was taken after Garda management made it clear that the security of the State would be threatened if there was an all-out strike.