Gardai face 'brain drain' over cuts of €500-a-month

Michael Lavery

Gardai are facing a "brain drain" if the Government pushes through wage cuts of up to €500 a month.

Many are now considering joining foreign police forces – with reductions to salaries and allowances looming.

Since the recession started in 2008, anecdotal reports suggest dozens of gardai have left the force for police forces in New York , West Australia and New South Wales – among others.

Now, many more are pondering their future in the gardai, amid reports they face pay cuts of €80 a week and allowances from July, with a further €50 cut planned from January 1 next, while an extra reduction of another €50 from January 2015 is also in the pipeline.


"Many gardai are already considering their options, with more pay cuts coming," one Garda Representative Association (GRA) source said.

The GRA represents "rank and file" gardai and has withdrawn from talks with the Government, saying they will not take part in any process that proposes wage cuts.

"People have committed to a mortgage based on a guaranteed pay and now find that's being cut," the source said.

"The Police Service of Northern Ireland and the West Australian police are always advertising for members.

"We operate under the same kind of legislation and have a very similar style of policing.

"We also have gardai who have joined the New York Police Department and they still keep in touch with us.

"I think a lot of people were considering their future anyway. People are angry and frustrated and they also see their workload increasing. We agreed a new rostering system based on European working time – gardai were already working a 40-hour week – and now we're being asked to work extra.


"There is a feeling we are being targeted and there are very strong views out there."

In the past few years, former gardai have joined the NYPD and other American police forces. Others have joined police forces in Australia, including West Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Some years ago, the then Western Australian Police Commissioner led a delegation to Dublin to seek Irish recruits.

One former garda, Peter Crosbie, who is now based in Perth, Western Australia, with the WA Police, has told how he met "at least 20" ex-gardai working in Perth.

They included senior sergeants from Clondalkin, Crumlin and Tallaght and he said they are "all doing well for themselves".