Foot patrols scaled back as gardaí refuse overtime
Gardaí are tonight set to cause the first major disruption to public policing as part of their protest about pay cuts when they refuse to volunteer to work inside Croke Park for an intercounty football game.
The move will have knock-on effects across Dublin with foot patrols having to be scaled back to allow other gardaí to be diverted to police the stadium. Gardaí have refused to volunteer for overtime to work at the game.
The provision of policing inside sports stadiums is known as a non-public duty that the GAA and similar bodies must pay for themselves. Gardaí provide such services by volunteering for overtime. They are not rostered for such work as part of their normal duties.
The reduced patrolling in parts of Dublin city centre and some suburbs tonight to allow rostered gardaí to work at the game means some public order black spots will not be as heavily policed as normal.
There will not be sufficient numbers of gardaí on rostered duties in the nearby Garda stations of Mountjoy, Store Street and the Bridewell.
Senior sources estimated that about 80 gardaí would need to be taken off the streets and reassigned to police inside the stadium for the meeting of Dublin and Mayo.
The action has effectively been co-ordinated by the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors.
Separately last night, the union representing national teachers, the INTO, said it is to put the proposed new Croke Park agreement to a ballot of its 32,000 members without a recommendation. It said that having considered all related issues, the leadership felt that the outcome was the best available through negotiation.
Yesterday the GRA accused the Government and trade unions of excluding them from the recent Croke Park talks.
Earlier, Siptu vice-president Patricia King wondered why Garda bodies had not sought to influence the process.
However, the GRA said: “The trade union movement now dares to suggest that the Garda Representative Association could have received a similar deal to prison officers and firefighters – and influencing the decision. Let’s put this notion to rest: the gardaí were never invited into the main talks and have been excluded, since the formation of the State, from negotiations on matters of Garda pay.”