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Gardai may quit en masse in cuts protest

RANK-and-file gardai are considering mass resignations as a key campaign strategy to fight proposed Government pay cuts.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) is now focused on a two-pronged campaign against any pay cuts in the Croke Park II proposals.

These revolve around a Blue Flu II work-to-rule protest and the option of mass resignations.

For weeks, GRA officials had been thought likely to sanction an expanded programme of work-to-rule protests culminating in a Blue Flu campaign.

This would mean gardai using sick leave to exert pressure for pay concessions.



However, there has been increasing support for a more radical and high risk strategy involving mass resignations.

The latter was adopted from a highly successful pay campaign in Scandinavia by nurses.

Medical personnel there used a programme of mass resignations to force pay concessions, as ministers and health managers were faced with hospitals and clinics without staff.

However, some GRA strategists are worried that this is a high-risk gamble.

One senior GRA official pointed out that the concern is the Government may actually accept specific resignations and decline others. Under an escalating work-to-rule campaign, gardai have proposed to:

• Refuse to volunteer for duty at major GAA, soccer and rugby matches.

• Refuse to undertake non-core duties for The Gathering.

• Ban the use of all personal cars, mobile phones and equipment in the course of normal duties.

• Restrict response to 'civil remedy' calls such as noisy parties, traffic accidents that do not involve an injury etc.

Last week the annual conference of the GRA heard that gardai are often taking leave because they have simply run out of cash and can't afford fuel.

GRA president John Parker explained that when gardai do turn up for work they are faced with crippling cutbacks.



"There is nothing more disheartening than turning up for work to find that you have a loss of resources, between vehicles, equipment and manpower.

"It's not good enough as a service to the public. It's not what they are used to."

However it remains to be seen whether there will be serious appetite among gardai to walk away from their jobs.

The same conference heard from GRA deputy general secretary John Healy, who outlined how many were already struggling to repay mortgages and other loans.