Hundreds of gardaí to march on new Dáil

AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham. Photo: Damien Eagers

Allison Bray

A ‘blue wave’ of hundreds of high-ranking gardai is to march on Leinster House during the first official sitting of the new Dáil in the opening salvo of the campaign to restore pay to pre-recession levels.

Gardaí belonging to the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) representative association will gather at Dublin Castle this morning before marching to Leinster House for a rally at noon to protest at what the AGSI claims is “the lack of meaningful engagement in relation to garda pay.”

Gardaí will not march in uniform, despite calls to do so by AGSI General Secretary John Jacob at the annual conference in March. However, they will be wearing blue to symbolise their role as police officers.

In a call to action, the AGSI website shared an image of a giant tidal wave crashing against Leinster House.

Speaking on RTE Radio One, AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham described the call to action as “regrettable”.

She said today’s demonstration and subsequent protests scheduled to take place at a later date are “not what we want to do.”

Cunningham didn’t rule out the possibility of a withdrawal of services, even though gardaí are prevented by law from taking strike action.

“We’ll certainly explore (it). It was mentioned at our conference, I’m not going to hide behind it.”

She said industrial action is needed to get the Government to engage on talks aimed at restoring members to 2008 pay levels.

“It’s out of sheer frustration that we’re taking to the streets to protest,” she said.

“We are prepared to go as far as we have go to.  We will do whatever it takes to highlight our cause around pay.’