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PJ Browne: Step back from the brink, Garda Stone, before you harm the force

THE Industrial action as proposed by the General Secretary of the Garda Representative Association is going to lead a huge chasm between the Garda and the public that they serve.

I heard PJ Stone yesterday evening saying that he had a "mandate". What mandate is this I must ask? Less than 50pc of your association voted, Mr Stone.

What message are the non-voting members giving you and your association?

Mr Stone and those advocating industrial actions should remember the oath they took on joining the Garda Siochana. It was the same oath I took myself. We swore to serve the people of Ireland without fear, favour malice or ill will.

When Michael Staines became the first Garda Commissioner, he stated the Garda Siochana would not serve by the force of arms but by the will of the people. So do Garda Stone and his activist colleagues now want to turn that great and long-practised aspiration on its head, in favour of their own wish to deny the public their right of service?

I sincerely hope this is not the GRA's plan.

I am well aware of the serious losses that the Garda force has suffered in recent budgets. Gardai now find it difficult to get mortgages. They will have to get second jobs to sustain a reasonable standard.

As a former member, I can understand all the trauma that ensues from these issues. The question I must ask you is what about service to the public who pays garda wages?

Garda Stone, it is easy for you to tell young gardai to take actions to be decided by your association when you have your pay topped by a generous allowance through the GRA. These young gardai will have reach high ranks before they catch up with you.

Garda Stone, if you continue with your intended action you will turn gardai against each other. How is one garda going to do different work by complying with all rules and regulations within the force, when he is rostered beside a colleague who voted for action?

Stand back from the brink and serve the public that have supported the Garda Siochana throughout the decades. The credibility of the force is at stake and rests in your hands. Remember the people who now serve -- and also those who will come after you.

PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent with over 35 years' experience and one-time member of the GRA.