An Garda Síochána’s blueprint for the future has been dealt another blow after a second Garda association refused to implement it because of a row over pay.
The Garda Modernisation and Renewal Programme — backed by promised €200m in Government funding — is a five-year plan drawn up in response to a series of critical external reports.
The 120-page document outlines reforms to the culture and structure of the organisation and changes to crime investigation, services to victims, and investment in technology.
The document was launched by commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan in Farmleigh House a month ago.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) yesterday stated it would not implement the landmark strategy because of the Government’s “political” decision to withdraw payment of the public service increment to gardaí after the GRA voted against signing up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
Their move — which follows a similar decision last month by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors — puts in doubt a whole range of initiatives beneficial to the public and gardaí.
These include community policing teams, local domestic violence and sexual assault units, cyber crime units, computerised 999 dispatch systems and a hotline to report child sex abuse.
The GRA said it had taken the decision “reluctantly” as it had advocated for many of the reforms. It said the Government had failed to deliver on its promise of a review of Garda pay which formed a key part of the Haddington Road Agreement.
“Our members have yet another pay freeze imposed upon them despite this government’s failure to honour its commitments,” said GRA president Ciaran O’Neill.
“Members of Garda rank have not yet received their full entitlements under the terms of the Haddington Road Agreement.
“We had repeatedly asked the minister for justice and equality to refrain from imposing the legislation while the Haddington Road Agreement Review was progressing.
“This political decision is an inflammatory escalation ignoring our genuine and legitimate grievances. Our executive has no option but to respond appropriately.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved