Gardaí set to up protest ante

Garda representative associations look set to up the ante in their fight against pay cuts following remarks made by the justice minister, who accused them of doing a disservice to their members by holding protests.

The fallout from Alan Shatter’s speech at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) annual conference continued yesterday as representatives of Garda middle management said their members were extremely angry with what he said.

Assistant general secretary Joe Jacob said his members were upset with the tone of Mr Shatter’s speech on Monday night, which he described as “condescending and disingenuous”.

“I did feel the minister was disingenuous telling us as an association that we didn’t have the right to protest,” said Mr Jacob.

“We will continue to protest. Delegates here are very angry and inclined to look at further action which won’t impact on our service to the public.”

Meanwhile, the president of the Garda Representative Association, John Parker, accused Mr Shatter of “showing a total disconnect from reality”.

“He showed an intransigence which is inexcusable and an arrogance we have come to expect from him.”

He said the minister had “abused his invitation” to speak at the conference and had treated AGSI members “like national school children who were being chastised”.

Mr Parker said more protests were planned by his members and threatened that his organisation would “incrementally increase” the measures they were taking in the fight against cuts to pay and resources.

Mr Shatter got the silent treatment from AGSI delegates after his address. However, they treated Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to a round of applause after he addressed them yesterday evening.

Mr Callinan watched a six-minute video showing the pressures some AGSI members were already experiencing and said he was “aware of the pain, hardship, anger, and frustration” being experienced by the force’s middle management.

He also agreed to a question and answer session with delegates, which was held in private.

Mr Callinan said he experienced difficult times “in the 1980s when things were tough and it was difficult to make ends meet”.

However, he pointed out that he expected gardaí of all ranks to continue to do their duty and warned their representative organisations not to do anything to jeopardise the force.

Mr Callinan criticised four AGSI delegates from the Carlow/Kilkenny division who walked out as he began his speech. They did the same the previous evening to Mr Shatter.

They had been mandated to do so by their area’s 42 sergeants and inspectors.

He said he did not expect such behaviour from gardaí of those ranks, adding that showing such “disrespect to the minister or commissioner of the day was not on”.


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