Fianna Fáil leader Martin says ‘high-handed’ Shatter has lost confidence of gardaí

Opposition leader accuses Minister of combative and dismissive approach

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. Micheál Martin says he needs to “change his approach very quickly” if Garda morale is to improve.  Photograph: Bryan O'Brien

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. Micheál Martin says he needs to “change his approach very quickly” if Garda morale is to improve. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien

Mon, Mar 25, 2013, 06:00

The Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has launched a strongly worded attack on Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, saying he has lost the confidence of gardai across the State and needs to “change his approach very quickly” if Garda morale is to improve.

In remarks the day before Mr Shatter was due to attend the first Garda representative body annual delegate conference of the year, Mr Martin claimed gardai felt ignored by the Government.

“Gardaí are telling me and our representatives across the country that they are frankly fed up with a continued attack on frontline services and their pay and conditions,” he said.

“Garda stations have closed, crime in many areas in the country is up significantly, particularly theft and burglaries and gardaí, many of whom are in financial difficulty, are facing more cuts to their take-home pay.”

“We have seen how this Minister has dealt with criticism of his approach in the past – he has completely dismissed any negative analysis of his performance. But the reality is this Minister’s decisions and the high handed way... (are) failing the force and the communities depending on it.”

He added Mr Shatter needed to set aside his “combative approach” to the Garda staff associations and listen to their concerns before acting upon them. The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors was due to open its three-day all delegate conference in Sligo town this evening. Mr Shatter made no reply to Mr Martin’s remarks yesterday.