Gardaí seek delayed allowances
Rank-and-file gardaí are calling on Minister for Justice and Defence Alan Shatter to make available funds that would allow the payment of pre-Christmas allowances which are being delayed until the new year.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has said the delay will take an estimated €500 after tax from the Christmas budgets if its members.
Association president John Parker said those who will be hardest hit are members with young children who incur most expense over the Christmas period.
“Many of them bought their homes during the boom and are already paying huge mortgages and have seen their pay hit by the Universal Social Charge and other cuts.”
He added Mr Shatter could take money for a number of weeks from the 2013 budget for new Garda vehicles. This would mean the allowances could be paid in Christmas week, with no adverse impact on the overall Garda budget for next year.
“The Minister has the chance here to play Father Christmas or the Grinch, whatever clothes he puts on is up to him," said Mr Parker.
The issue centres on allowances for unsocial working hours over the past four-week roster period. They are paid to members for working nights, weekends and other unsocial hours.
The GRA said the payments are traditionally made 11 days after each four-week roster period, meaning the next payment should be due on December 20th.
However, the payment was delayed a number of years ago because of budget constraints and pushed into the following year. The situation was never rectified and is continuing this year.
Mr Parker said his members are now under serious financial pressure and cannot afford to go without the payment for Christmas.
He believed it was unfair to ask gardaí to effectively “prop up” the Garda budget by foregoing until the new year payments that are due in Christmas week.
While Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was the accounting officer for the Garda, meaning the force was responsible for spending and managing its own budget, Mr Parker believed Mr Shatter was in a position to assist his members.
He said a supplementary budget had been made available to the Health Service Executive and that making available funds from next year’s budget for a number of weeks would rectify the situation.
A spokeswoman for Mr Shatter said that as the accounting officer, the Garda budget was a matter for Mr Callinan.
A spokesman for Mr Callinan said the arrangements were long standing and that any change would complicate members’ tax liabilities for the year.