Sunday 19 January 2020

Gardaí risk their lives to save ours - they deserve fair pay

‘Gardaí face abuse and danger on a daily basis’ Picture: Tom Burke
‘Gardaí face abuse and danger on a daily basis’ Picture: Tom Burke
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Leo Varadkar has taken a hardline stance on the proposed strike by gardaí. The Social Protection Minister has called on gardaí "to reflect on their position in society". Perhaps it is time for society to reflect on the same question. How much, or more importantly, how little do we value An Garda Síochána?

Gardaí are not like other members of the public service. They do not work in safe environments. They do not work nine to five. They do not have flexitime. However, they do face abuse, assault and danger on a daily basis.

The majority do this while being unarmed, placing them among the very few unarmed police forces in the world. Do not forget this.

Who among us who are not members of the force would be willing to take their place? Very few.

If the State prohibits the rights of gardaí to take industrial action, then the State has a duty or care to ensure that their pay and conditions of employment are protected in a way not needed by those who can take industrial action.

Without doubt, there are many issues that need to be addressed within the management of the service. However, 'the worker is worthy of his (her) wages'. If this is to mean anything, then rank and file gardaí who are willing to risk their lives to protect ours should be fairly paid.

Despite the many faults, when danger lurks, it's a bit like 'Ghostbusters': "Who ya gonna call?"

Philip Byrne

Bray, Co Wicklow

Our officers hold a unique role

Regarding the headline (Irish Independent, October 19): 'Varadkar takes hardline stance on Garda strike', I challenge Leo to put on a Garda uniform and carry out a patrol in the city centre late on a weekend evening/night.

Because of the essential duty carried out by gardaí, I believe they are entitled to separate pay negotiations.

The outcome of these should then be ring-fenced because of the unique role gardaí hold.

Joe Dowling

Athlone, Co Westmeath

Governments left us unprotected

Leo Varadkar's comments about the public's attitude towards the impending Garda industrial action are more than disingenuous. Potentially leaving communities unprotected is one of several remarks he had made regarding the action.

It has been the current and previous Fine Gael governments who have in reality left communities unprotected by the imposition of the harsh austerity measures, with Mr Varadkar holding cabinet posts in both of these governments.

Under the Fine Gael/Labour government, many garda stations were closed down, allowing criminal gangs to roam with impunity, there was a moratorium on new recruits being taken into the Templemore training facility, and many retiring gardaí were not replaced, leading to dwindling numbers in the force.

Gardaí are under-resourced and over-taxed, and I do not know why anyone would consider doing the job of a garda, as there are far easier and safer options to make a living.

Perhaps if Mr Varadkar were to try to live on the salary of a garda he might understand the situation a bit better, but cosseted in the Dáil with a huge salary, expenses and additional allowances, he is clearly out of touch with the harsh realities of the real world. He's also out of touch with the fact the public do, for the most part, support the gardaí and also do so regarding the industrial action now proposed.

Rory O'Connor

Lucan, Co Dublin

Clinton's had her shot in power

The world-wide media says that The Donald can't win - the voters will not let them down, they confidently believe.

Hmm...this was the same cosy consensus which said Brexit did not have a hope in hell of being carried.

Oh, ye of little faith...has it not become clear yet that Hillary Clinton had her shot in government, and it was a disaster?

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

Christmas could be cancelled

Santa Claus has sent shock waves through society.

He has threatened to go on strike this Christmas if his pay demands under The North Pole Agreement are not implemented.

Under the terms of the agreement, Santa was to get a 10pc rise, plus additional Elves to help with the avalanche of letters he is due to receive.

He points out that he has had no pay rise for 2,000 years, and in that time the job has become much more stressful due to population increases.

Santa, in recent years, has been experiencing claustrophobia due to chimneys getting smaller and smaller.

Santa's union, the Red Reindeer Association (RRA), are behind him all the way. Shop steward Rudolph Red Nose has declared that a 'go slow' will come into force on Christmas Eve, and unless Santa's pay demands are met, children will have to wait until Easter for their presents.

A spokesman for the North Pole government has stated that Santa will not hold the North Pole to ransom, and unless reasonable, fruitful, dialogue is adopted then Christmas will be cancelled.

Anthony Woods

Ennis, Co Clare

Time to lance this boil for good

In his article 'Citizens' Assembly a cop-out in search for solution to bitter abortion debate' (Irish Independent, October 19), Ian O'Doherty nailed it when he talked about the "genuine contempt" both sides in the abortion debate feel for each other.

I experienced this earlier this year when I ran in the General Election here in Galway West, having to put up with a tsunami of abuse and negative comments on Twitter.

Whatever the feelings of the people who tweeted me, and only they can answer that, I certainly felt contempt for them. I wondered was it worth it, speaking publicly about my pro-life views and even having this issue as one of my core election principles.

After the election I kept quiet for a number of months until in August I spoke on 'Liveline', objecting to a pro-choice event in this year's Galway Pride Festival.

It is very sad, as Mr O'Doherty, says that the rancour during the marriage equality referendum was "as naught compared to what we can expect from the inevitable referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment".

Is there any solution to this? I certainly would not be hopeful, but again to paraphrase Mr O'Doherty, "it is time to finally lance this boil, one way or another".

Tommy Roddy

Salthill, Co Galway

Byrne should be next president

In saying the unsayable - that Ireland should follow the UK out of the EU - Gay Byrne shows why he should be the next president.

Dr John Doherty

Gaoth Dobhair, Co Dhún na nGall

Irish Independent

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