Agsi urges Government to review Garda role for morale boost

‘Very disappointing’ Minister for Justice not attending conference, association president says

The Government was today urged by a leading member of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) to carry out a review of the role and function of An Garda Síochána as a matter of urgency to help improve floundering morale in the force. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The Government was today urged by a leading member of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) to carry out a review of the role and function of An Garda Síochána as a matter of urgency to help improve floundering morale in the force. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Mon, Apr 14, 2014, 18:37

The Government was today urged by a leading member of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) to carry out a review of the role and function of An Garda Síochána as a matter of urgency to help improve floundering morale in the force.

Agsi president Tim Galvin told the opening day of the union’s conference in Killarney that morale within the force” is on the floor” despite the spin being put on matters by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter that all was well within the organisation.

Mr Galvin refused to call Mr Shatter’s decision not to attend the Agsi conference “a snub” but he did express disappointment that Mr Shatter was unable to attend the conference to hear the views of delegates who represent some 2,000 middle ranking gardai.

“When the Minister says that he is speaking to people on the ground and they tell him morale is high, I don’t know who he is talking to, definitely not the people I work with or represent,” Mr Galvin told the 150 delegates;

Mr Galvin said that the name of An Garda Síochána had been pilloried in the media and in Dáil Éireann over the past few months with the organisation making headlines across all media for all the wrong reasons.

“The reasons for these headlines are all to do with governance and how the organisation is being run. It relates by and large to poor policies and poor implementation of policies, clearly the responsibility of senior management and not front line supervision,” he said.

Mr Galvin said the media controversy had made the work of Agsi members on the street much more difficult and stressful. “The work that is being done by our members operationally on the ground is being undermined by the current controversies, not of our making.

“The current investigations underway must be completed as a matter of urgency and all information that is unearthed brought into the public domain. It is critical for the reputation of the Garda organisation that these investigations are concluded speedily.”

Mr Galvin said that Agsi had agreed to a review of An Garda Síochána under the Haddington Road agreement and while the industrial relations part of the review had begun, areas of structure and deployment had still to be addressed.

This was due to the failure of the government to engage with the staff associations and he called on Mr Shatter, as Minister for Justice, to take the opportunity to seek out the views of all four staff associations whose members are all stakeholders in the organisations.