Garda ‘no confidence’ vote gains support

An unprecedented vote of no confidence in Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan by more than 350 Cork gardaí is gaining support nationwide.

The claim was made last night by a senior member of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents 11,200 rank-and-file gardaí.

Garda Michael Corcoran, one of the GRA’s 31 central executive members, said support was gaining momentum following the unanimous vote of no confidence in the commissioner and Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

It had been taken by Cork gardaí at a meeting in the city on Tuesday night.

It is the first time in the history of the GRA, founded in 1978, that a no-confidence motion was passed against a commissioner and minister for justice at the same time.

Garda Corcoran said the motion will now be tabled before a two-day meeting of the GRA’s central executive in Dublin next week. He is seeking to have it dealt with as a priority.

“There has been a lot of reaction [from gardaí] on Facebook. I think a number of other Garda divisions will support the motion. It’s gaining in momentum,” said the Cork-based garda.

The GRA central executive meeting will also discuss a further motion which demands Mr Shatter not be invited to attend its annual conference in Westport, Co Mayo, at the end of May.

It is customary for the GRA to invite the minister for justice.

Gardaí are furious over the Government’s attempts to further slash pay and allowances, on top of reducing resources.

Both the GRA and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) have withdrawn from talks on an extension of the Croke Park Agreement.

GRA president Garda John Parker said yesterday that his association’s members could not take any more cuts.

The GRA is reportedly considering “blue flu” action and a work to rule if the Government tries to push through the cuts.

Garda Corcoran said a work to rule could involve gardaí grounding patrol cars for health and safety reasons, refusing to issue speeding tickets, and refusing to use their personal mobile phones and computers for work.

He said over many years, gardaí often worked far longer than scheduled shifts. “All that goodwill has now completely evaporated,” he said.

The commissioner, meanwhile, said he was aware of the Cork vote.

“It is important to point out that we are a young force, almost 60% [of gardaí have] less than 10 years’ service. But I do share the sense of frustration of the young members who are struggling hard and I think everybody does. That is natural and people will be angry and will be hurt and will vent their views from time to time and that, also, is perfectly understandable,” he said.

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