Garda recruits are paid far less than their counterparts in England and Scotland and GRA representatives say it is ironic the Department they work for has ‘Equality’ as part of its title.
GRA members are furious with the Government for cutting new recruits’ pay and denying them a €4,000 a year rent allowance to which their colleagues up to the rank of chief superintendent are entitled.
Garda Michael McGrath from Killalla, Co Mayo, told the GRA’s annual conference in Killarney yesterday that recruits in the Metropolitan Police get €28,209 in their first year, Scottish police earn €30,826, but Garda recruits earn just €23,171.
Garda Michael Corcoran from Cork City said this was “absolutely crazy” as this was just €4,000 above the minimum wage and that GRA members may have to get more militant to get pay restored to pre-recession levels: “We were told before the election that the emergency was over. We’re constantly being told we’re in a democratic country, it’s not.”
Garda Ray Wims, from Sligo, said many gardaí were postponing having families because of the pay cuts and were working longer hours to make up for the shortfall in garda numbers.
Garda Damien McCarthy, a former president of the organisation who is based in Dublin, said no other worker has suffered as much as gardaí in recent years. He warned the incoming Government that their toughest challenge will be to deal with the GRA and its members should now prepare themselves “to march” and “protest”.
Wicklow-based Garda Pearse O’Sullivan, urged the GRA to join with other groups and unions who were also affected by wage cuts, pension levies and the universal social charge.
Garda Colin Moran, who works at Dublin Airport, said gardaí wanted the draconian 25% cut in their wages restored: “We are finished being treated like a Third-World police force. How can any government defend a starting salary of €23,000 and the loss of their [recruits’] €4,000 rent allowance when rents are now at an all-time high?
“It’s sickening to hear some recruits are surviving on handouts and others getting family income supplement.”
Garda Jim Mulligan, based at Blackrock, Dublin, said he came across “a young lad in tears” wondering how he was going to afford rent in Dundalk.
“It’s an absolute outrage and a scandal.”
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