Gardaí to protest over reserve plans

Gardaí are to begin a nationwide protest against the introduction of a Garda reserve force.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell is planning to recruit around 4,000 volunteers to carry out community policing duties.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents 9,500 rank-and-file gardai, said it would be holding protest meetings this month in Sligo, Laois, Cork and Dublin.

“The proposed Garda Reserve is an affront to policing standards in this country and highlights once again the lack of understanding and commitment which this government has for law enforcement and the policing requirements of the Irish people,” said a GRA spokesman.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell has received a report on the establishment of the reserve from Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy and has urged gardai to wait until his proposals are finalised.

But both the GRA and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) have set out their strong opposition to a reserve in any shape or form.

Their criticisms included the powers of arrest given to reservists, their access to sensitive information and their lack of training.

“Instead of funding and supporting a properly resourced and staffed full-time force, Justice Minister Michael McDowell is opting for a Garda Reserve which cannot possibly work and will not be accepted by the GRA or AGSI,” said the GRA spokesman.

The first protest meeting will be held in the Sligo Park Hotel next Monday.


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