Gardaí vote no confidence in Shatter
The main body representing rank-and-file gardaí has passed a motion of no confidence in Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and resolved to take protest action from next week against Government moves to cut their pay.
The Garda Representative Association has also claimed that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan is not aware of the impact on the force of pay cuts and the lack of resources.
In a brief response to this and other motions carried yesterday by the GRA, Mr Callinan said last night he would soon meet the association to discuss its concerns.
The adoption of the no-confidence motion in Mr Shatter, passed unanimously yesterday by the association’s central executive committee, is believed to be the first by the body against any minister for justice.
The association represents 11,300 rank-and-file Garda members in the 13,400-strong force.
Last night Mr Shatter said cuts were necessary to get the public finances back on track and he appreciated this put pressure on “those who provide 24/7 services”.
He also urged the association to re-engage with the Croke Park talks on public sector pay as “it is only those who participate who can contribute to, and shape, the outcome”.
Mr Shatter has overseen the closure of 95 Garda stations in the past month and 40 closures last year.
Association president John Parker said up to five protest actions may be taken by rank-and-file gardaí from next Friday but would not say what. “They could be described as turning off the goodwill tap. From then on, gardaí would incrementally adopt other appropriate action if the Government attacks our pay.”
In previous protests, gardaí not specifically trained to drive Garda vehicles on duty declined to do so. A further possibility is for gardaí to decline to use their private vehicles to travel between Garda stations.
The argument in Garda circles is that members of the force are not strictly obliged to co-operate in this manner, so such protests are not considered a breach of existing agreements.
It is believed association members may also picket Government Buildings or events, but not in uniform.
Mr Callinan is expected to attend a graduation ceremony today for Garda reserves at the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, and may comment further there on the motions passed by the association.
The body said it urgently requested the commissioner to outline to the force “whether he believes any reduction in Garda pay will have a negative effect on policing”.