Wednesday 13 December 2017

GRA can't have it both ways on garda numbers

There is a connection between the complaints about reducing garda numbers and the call for the abolition of the Garda Reserve, which not all the delegates at the conference of the Garda Representative Association may have seen, or wanted to see. They may not be able to have the one without the other.

Regular officers never like part-timers, but the principle of using them is well-established, especially in the UK. There, the public seems to appreciate the Community Support Officers a lot more than the regulars do. No doubt they have to be "baby-sat" to some degree but they provide that invaluable asset where crowds gather and after the pubs close -- boots on the ground.

As the GRA says, force numbers are a target of the spending cuts. The GRA, like public sector unions, is entitled to make its case. However, to demand that Garda pay and numbers can be maintained, and suggest that the limited contribution made by the Reserve be abolished, is to misunderstand that nature of what is going to happen in the next four years.

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