THE first reverberations of anger over the clampdown on pay, promotion and recruitment in the gardaí will be heard this week as middle-ranking officers hold their annual conference in Athlone.
This follows hot on the heels of the Government’s controversial move to hand over power in such matters to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. Effectively, he assumes the roll of paymaster and recruiting sergeant for the gardaí, army, navy and air corps.
As far as the gardaí are concerned, the Government will be left in no doubt about the seething anger in the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors over pensions, the end of recruitment and the axing of overtime budgets. Given the huge deterioration of public finances, the Government has no choice but to take tough action. However, such measures must not be allowed hamper the battle against dissident republicans, especially in border areas where intelligence is vital.
Nor should they reduce the crucial Garda role against murderous criminal gangs on the streets of our cities.
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