No such thing as free lunch for gardai – Shatter
Justice Minister Alan Shatter has called time on gardai receiving free food and drink because of their job.
In a written Dail response to independent TD Clare Daly, Mr Shatter said the inappropriate receipt of gifts or gratuities by members of An Garda Siochana was governed by disciplinary regulations.
Deputy Daly had asked the minister if there was a protocol that required gardai to declare gifts they received in the form of accommodation or refreshment in places of public resort.
Mr Shatter's single-sentence response made no reference to the protocol Ms Daly had asked for, legal sources said.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said a section of the garda regulations, which defined corruption and improper practice, dealt with the specific issue raised by Deputy Daly.
"That is to say – soliciting or receiving . . . any gratuity or present" without the Garda Commissioner's consent and with the exception of gifts received on occasions of transfer, marriage or retirement, the regulations state.
A hospitality industry spokesperson, who wished to remain anonymous, said the practice of giving gifts to gardai still occurred but much less frequently than before.
Business owners would have felt pressurised into giving gifts in the past but nowadays it was "definitely" at the owner's discretion, the spokesperson said.
Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said he had never seen any member of the force, of any rank, getting free meals from establishments.
"You would often hear stories of garda stations getting a couple of whiskey bottles from local publicans at Christmas time. With regard to the food element, I've never heard of it," Mr Cummins said.
The Garda Representative Association made no comment at the time of writing.