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Gardai vote for 'blue flu' cuts protest

PRESSURE is mounting on Justice Minister Alan Shatter as hundreds more gardai vote in favour of a "blue flu" campaign in protest over proposed wage cuts.

Members of the Garda Representative Association in Tipperary and Kerry have joined colleagues in Cork and Limerick in support.

Packed meetings of members in the Dublin Metropolitan area and in Kerry have also discussed an imminent work-to-rule.

Votes on work-to-rule action are taking place in divisions all around the country ahead of a meeting of the GRA central executive tomorrow.

More than 200 rank and file garda met in Thurles last night and voted in favour of action including a "blue flu" if the Government goes ahead with proposed cuts to pay and allowances.

The meeting also passed votes of no confidence in Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Justice Minister and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Last week, members of three Cork Garda divisions – Cork City, Cork West, and Cork North – also voted in favour of a work-to-rule, followed by a "blue flu" over the proposed cuts.

The "blue flu" form of protest was first used in May 1998 when large numbers of gardai took sick leave in protest over pay and conditions.

Gardai are not allowed to take formal strike action but say they feel pushed into a corner.

They are being asked to contribute more than €60m or 6pc of the €1bn required in savings under a new Croke Park deal.

But the GRA, which represents the country's 13,424 rank and file gardai, has pulled out of talks on pay cuts.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, which represents 2,000 officers, also pulled out of the talks a week previously.