AGSI cool towards Noirín O’Sullivan

Relations between middle-ranking gardaí and Noirín O’Sullivan have chilled as she prepares to give her first speech as Garda Commissioner to an association annual conference later today.

AGSI cool towards Noirín O’Sullivan

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) described as “totally and utterly unacceptable” the commissioner’s lack of engagement with them over serious issues, including sick leave.

AGSI vice-president Antoinette Cunningham recalled comments she herself made at last year’s conference welcoming Ms O’Sullivan’s appointment.

She said delegates were happy with her appointment because of her experience, “operationally and managerially”.

Ms Cunningham told the association’s annual conference in Trim, Co Meath, that the commissioner’s lack of engagement with them was “totally and utterly unacceptable, disappointing and more than a bit inconsiderate”.

She said the association, which represents almost 2,400 sergeants and inspectors, had sought four times in the last seven weeks to have meetings with her, but to no avail.

Ms Cunningham said a small group of association officials had met the commissioner on February 9, when she had used the phrase “constructive engagement”.

However, she said that, since then, she had left frontline members with no definition of occupational injury, no guidelines as to what constituted a critical illness and no policy on previous injuries on duty, which still affected members.

It is estimated that around 200 AGSI members are affected by sick pay issues and the AGSI argues that there has been no clarity from management about matters arising out of sick pay legislation in the public service.

Ms Cunningham told the commissioner that constructive engagement was not one-sided. She urged Ms O’Sullivan to tackle those issues with urgency and to respect and acknowledge the role that the association could play in consultative processes.

She said the lack of clarity had caused financial hardship to some members, who first heard they were off the garda payroll when they received a call from a financial institution to say that a payment had not been made due to lack of funds.

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