Garda anger that new stations haven't been built

Frontline gardaí have expressed anger that a government promise made three years ago to build three new garda stations still hasn't materialised

Garda anger that new stations haven't been built

Frontline gardaí have expressed anger that a government promise made three years ago to build three new garda stations still hasn't materialised.

Delegates attending the Garda Representative Association conference heard that gardaí are having to endure poor conditions at the stations in Macroom, Sligo and Clonmel.

The government promised to build replacement stations as part of a PPP (Public Private Partnership). Probably the worst conditions are to be found in Macroom, in a not-fit-for-purpose building which was constructed in the 1850s.

GRA central executive member Jason Collins told delegates that his colleagues were still enduring appalling conditions and it was totally unacceptable that they were still waiting for a modern station three years on.

Land was purchased five years ago to house both a new garda station and fire station. The fire station plans are being progressed by the county council, but nothing is happening with the garda station.

The GRA commissioned a report carried out by an independent engineer who concluded that gardaí were working in third world conditions.

In the meantime, gardaí working out of the former RIC barracks have to share just one small toilet and shower. Their canteen is little more than a box room and there are no proper fire escapes.

There is no protection screen in the custody area for gardaí who sometimes get spat at or attacked verbally or physically by prisoners.

GRA president Detective Garda Jim Mulligan said the recent Police Authority report highlighted the fact that frontline officers have yet to see tangible evidence of changes that improve their working conditions.

“Gardai, sometimes working in appalling accommodation, have been expected to deliver improved policing outcomes while ill-equipped and insufficiently trained,” he said.

We want to work in buildings and vehicles that are safe.

Meanwhile, gardai have also backed a call to get changes made to their pension scheme.

Garda Donal Daly, a delegate from the Cork City Garda Division, said at present gardai who have completed 30 years of service don't get any further top-ups on their pension after that, despite paying about 9% of their wages into it for every year they serve over the 30 years.

It is technically possible to join the gardai at the age of 18, but most recruits are usually in their early 20s. However, they can still work up until they are 60.

Garda Daly said some gardai could do 40 years of service, yet they were paying the last 10 years into the pension pot and getting no added benefit for it.

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