Gardaí ‘forced to return under protest’ to station

Frontline gardaí have been “forced to return under protest” to Sligo Garda Station after receiving an official direction from local management to do so.

Management said they issued the direction on the basis that the OPW, the Health and Safety Authority, and chief fire officer said it was safe.

Members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) in Sligo walked out of the station last Monday week over what they said were continuing breaches of health and safety and fire standards.

The GRA made the decision after Michael Reilly, a consulting engineer — who issued a damning report on the station in May 2016 — visited it again last Sunday week and concluded the conditions had worsened.

The GRA members worked out of offices owned by the OPW in Sligo. They said they would not return to the station until the new planned station was built or proper alternative facilities secured.

Local GRA representative Ray Wims said yesterday: “Members have been forced to return under protest. They were given a direction from management to re-enter the building which is a lawful direction they cannot refuse to obey.”

He said members were conscious of the fact that if they ignored the direction that they could face consequences under Garda Síochána disciplinary regulations.

He said management suggested they had three inspections carried out by fire authorities, the Health and Safety Authority and the OPW.

“Members of Sligo Station or the GRA have not been provided with copies of these reports by above bodies, Garda Wims said. “There is no report to contradict Michael Reilly Engineers or two reports of the internal Garda safety advisers.”

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