AGSI warned on 'criminal' action
John Redmond: led the AGSI delegation called to meeting in Garda HQ in Dublin.
Senior Garda officers have warned representatives of sergeants and inspectors that their pay protest plans may be potentially criminal.
The leadership of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) was called to a meeting at Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park in Dublin on Thursday.
Senior officers pointed out that the Garda Síochána Act prohibits members of the force from withdrawing their services or encouraging others to do so. Members of the AGSI national executive were presented with the legislation to study. It was pointed out to them that breaching the provisions about withdrawal of service was a criminal offence punishable on conviction by up to five years imprisonment.
The warning was put in writing for the executive members to take away. The AGSI delegation was led by general secretary John Redmond, while Deputy Commissioner Nacie Rice led the team of senior management on behalf of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. The row centres on protests by AGSI and the Garda Representative Association representing rank-and-file gardaí. They are refusing to use their personal phones, laptops or private cars for work in protest over cuts to their pay and allowances. They are also refusing to work overtime at events where special policing plans need to be put in place and which usually require overtime working. This disrupted the policing plan last weekend for a football match between Dublin and Mayo in Croke Park.
In the run up to St Patrick’s Day, which is the biggest operational policing day of the year, AGSI has published a notice on its website reminding its members not to make themselves available to work overtime and also assuring them that they cannot be compelled to do overtime. The St Patrick’s Day celebrations have in the past been marred by serious drink-fuelled violence. It has also emerged that the president of AGSI, Willie Gleeson, has stepped down following newspaper reports that suggested he had gone on holidays in the days when the association’s protest action was starting.
AGSI was unable to meet the Garda Commissioner for talks about Garda pay and resourcing a fortnight ago because Mr Gleeson and Mr Redmond were abroad. Mr Redmond has said he was dealing with a family matter at the time.