Thursday 18 July 2019

Row over new recruits' ability to reach €31,000 pay after a year in job

Robert Watt. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Robert Watt. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Anne-Marie Walsh

The Department of Justice has insisted that gardaí get an allowance worth almost €6,450 for working unsocial hours on top of a €25,727 salary after a year in the force.

It backed up claims by the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Robert Watt, that after a year in the job they earn €31,000.

Mr Watt was responding after numerous garda recruits spoke publicly about the hardship they are enduring due to low pay.

Gardaí have complained that their starting salary is just €23,750 - 10pc lower than their colleagues who started prior to a pay cut for new recruits was imposed.

The Irish Independent was referred to the Department of Justice by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform when it asked for a breakdown of Mr Watt's €31,000 figure.

The Department of Justice said after 32 weeks, gardaí are fully attested and move on to the first point of the garda incremental pay scale of €23,750.

After 84 weeks of training, they move to the second point of the scale, which is €25,727.

It said gardaí assigned to frontline duties work the garda roster which attracts unsocial hours payments and such payments amount to between 25pc and 30pc of their earnings.

It said this "allowance" will add almost €6,450 to the salary of a garda on the second point of the scale.

However, the Garda Representative Association said the unsociable hours allowance is a variable payment and hard to earn.

"In order to earn the €6,000 the department says they can earn, gardaí reaching the end of year one would have little or no free time and they would have had to severely restrict their annual leave," said vice president, Ciarán O'Neill.


"Even if they were to earn such an allowance, after two years of being full-time gardaí and putting their lives on the line on a daily basis, they would not even have reached the average industrial wage."

He said a similar recruit at the same point on the payscale who joined in 2008 would be on basic pay of €31,442 and in receipt of rent allowance of €4,155.

Irish Independent

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