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Monday 11 December 2017

Gardai promise to resist Croke Park II pay cuts

Brian Hutton

MIDDLE-RANKING gardai have vowed to resist any cuts to their pay or allowances under public sector cost-cutting plans.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) annual conference warned cutbacks agreed under the Croke Park II deal were causing "deep distress" to officers.

The organisation - which represents more than 2,000 Garda supervisors - overwhelmingly backed a raft of motions to oppose the proposals.

An agreement hammered out between trade unions and the Government would see some allowances abolished, pay cuts for those earning more than €60,000 and reduced overtime payments.

But Sergeant Kevin Bolger, based in Wicklow, told delegates they had nothing more to give.

"The camel's back is about to break," he said.

"We cannot take any more."

Sgt Bolger said one of his colleagues who was promoted to a station 125kms from his home had spent 17,500 euro on fuel alone to travel there and back over the past three years.

The officer worked out he had spent 2,257 hours driving to and from his workplace during that time.

"If these cuts are pushed through, I fear that the mental welfare of each of our members will be tested, some to breaking point," said Sgt Bolger.

"That is a gravely serious prediction, but from living it and talking to other people living it, it is real."

The Garda sergeant said the proposed cutbacks were messing with people's lives.

Among the motions passed at the conference was an agreement to do "whatever is necessary" to protect the allowances and welfare of sergeants and inspectors.

Inspector Tony Gallagher, based in north Dublin, said the planned cutbacks were causing "deep distress" among the mid-ranking members of the force.

Sergeants and inspectors were "totally reliant" on a monthly allowance cheque to pay utility bills and everyday living expenses, he told delegates.

"The proposed cuts will push many of our members over the edge and into further poverty," he added.

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