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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Union leader warns against replacing pay body chief

Siptu president Jack O'Connor has backed Kevin Duffy Photo: Tom Burke
Siptu president Jack O'Connor has backed Kevin Duffy Photo: Tom Burke

Anne-Marie Walsh and Niall O'Connor

SIPTU leader Jack O'Connor has warned against replacing the public service pay body chief who compared the garda strike threat to a "mutiny".

Jack O'Connor said any newcomer may not be as fair as the chairman of the Public Service Pay Commission, Kevin Duffy.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the most senior union leaders have also thrown their weight behind the former chairman of the Labour Court and ex-assistant general secretary of ICTU after he came under fire from garda representative bodies for his comments.

Mr Duffy last night rowed back on his remarks and said he regretted using the term "mutiny" and said it was an "inappropriate" expression.

He assured gardaí they would receive the same treatment from the commission as all other workers.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors warned it would not engage with the commission until after a meeting next month to decide if it had confidence in its chairman.

The Garda Representative Association acknowledged Mr Duffy's statement but said it reserved its position as to whether it had full confidence in his ability to carry out his role in an impartial manner. It will discuss the situation at an executive meeting next month.

But Siptu president Jack O'Connor said unions should be very careful "not to allow themselves be played into an agenda for removing someone who will be fair to their members and having them replaced very possibly by somebody who won't".

The general secretary of ICTU, Patricia King, expressed confidence in Mr Duffy but was unwilling to comment on his remarks as she did not hear them.

The Taoiseach said: "Given his understanding of a working class background, I think he will do an outstanding job."

Irish Independent

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