AGSI defends work-to-rule campaign

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) has defended its refusal to use personal phones, laptops and vehicles for official duties. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) has defended its refusal to use personal phones, laptops and vehicles for official duties. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Sun, Feb 24, 2013, 00:00

The body representing Garda sergeants and inspectors has said its decision to undertake a work-to-rule campaign is aimed at senior Garda management just as much as the Government.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) has defended its refusal to use personal phones, laptops and vehicles for official duties saying its goodwill had been taken for granted for years and it needed to take a stand against cuts to Garda pay and allowances.

Association vice president, Padraic Dolan believed the current action would highlight inadequacies in resourcing that such goodwill had concealed. He denied any of the actions would impinge in any way on the public.

"It will impact on management, on the way things are done, because we won’t be using our phones to be personally contacted. And we won’t be contacting our colleagues at garda rank. We won’t be using our personal laptops for the day to day running of the job and we won’t be using our private vehicles in order to get from A to B."

He said while those personal resources had for years been "given freely to the State" by his members, the goodwill had been eroded by reductions in pay, allowances and resources and now the threat of further pay and allowances cuts under the proposed extended Croke Park agreement.

Mr Dolan added while Garda sergeants and inspectors had made sacrifices under the existing agreement – in the shape of reductions in remuneration and major reforms of the Garda roster – they were now being asked to endure further cuts to their pay and allowances.

While the Agsi was previously being briefed on the edges of the Croke Park deal extension talks between public sector unions and Government officials, it had decided to abandon that practice because the range of options for cuts presented at the outset was unacceptable.

Mr Dolan said his members were already under severe pressure and could not entertain any more reductions to pay and allowances.

Responding to reports that some Agsi officials had spent much of last week playing golf in Spain while the protest over pay was building up at home, Mr Dolan confirmed association general secretary John Redmond and president Willie Gleeson were abroad.

While not wishing to comment further, he said the men had commitments to their families. He insisted both had stayed in constant contact with their colleagues on the Agsi national executive and that decisions were made collectively.

"I do know there was something there in relation to meeting the Garda Commissioner. We, as an executive, have been looking for a meeting for some time with the Commissioner and he has failed to meet us over the past year. And now all of a sudden everybody is anxious to meet."

It is understood Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan extended an invitation to Agsi to meet him last week for talks on the levels of unrest and financial hardship across the force. However, while the Garda Representative Association was in a position to take up the offer last week, Agsi was not.