Sergeants frustrated at toll of pay cuts as bills mount
Protesting gardai said that they were just like every other working person in the country - trying to pay bills and raise families.
Detective Sergeant Maura McGarry (37), based in Boyle, Roscommon, has been married nine years and is the mother of three kids aged between two and seven.
She said that, luckily, her family was managing to keep up with mortgage payments.
"There are members out there that aren't in that situation, that are struggling, especially members that bought in the boom . . . We are the same as everybody else," added Det-Sgt McGarry (right).
"Morale in our job is very, very low at the moment. It's trying to motivate the members that you supervise to get them out there to put their lives on the line.
"Basically, we want the respect and what was ours at the beginning and taken off us. We just simply want pay restored to us that was taken off us and the right to negotiate. We won that right in the European courts and we simply want that right back," she said.
She said she felt the Department of Justice had not been listening to gardai.
"We signed up to protect and serve and we will still do that until we're told anything different. We're very frustrated in our job," she said. Asked if she was willing to go on strike she said "we'll see".
Meanwhile, Sergeant Cormac Moylan (42) has been in the force for 20 years. He told the Irish Independent how joining the gardai was no longer an attractive career path, due to the low pay.
"It's not the job where you advise young people to join up any more," he said. "Now the first thing that someone does when they are just out of Templemore is go and get a medical card and family income supplement," he said.
"I started out in Dublin, working in Fitzgibbon Street and then I spent years in Traffic and Dublin Castle," he said.
Sgt Moylan was promoted to his current rank in 2007 and now serves in Athlone. The married father-of-four said that he was just like any other worker in Ireland, with a mortgage and bills to pay.
"Nobody wants to be out here, we want to get on with the work, but there comes a time when you need to say 'stop'," he explained.
He said with closing garda stations, officers are under increased pressure with more work, yet have still suffered losses in pay.