High-risk work: Gardaí in the firing line

THERE is growing and entirely justified pressure to end the inequity imposed on recent recruits to the public service, especially gardaí, nurses and teachers.

No society that values fairness or hopes to attract able and committed people to these services — and to build a career in them — can tolerate a two-tier pay scheme where younger workers are paid far less than their predecessors.

New figures showing that gardaí must endure, in the line of their work, injury rates 10-times higher than any other cohort of workers will add to that pressure. Our gardaí suffer an injury rate of 39.7 per 1,000, compared to a national injury rate of 3.4 per 1,000 employees.

These statistics tell many stories but most of all they show that protecting our society can be a high-risk occupation. They also underline that we may be far, far too tolerant of those who attack gardaí and cause them injury. But most of all it shows how unrealistic it is to expect young men and women to take on this work on pay rates that make it impossible to enjoy an independent and basic lifestyle.


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