Garda-cuts meeting not possible due to holidays
The body representing Garda sergeants and inspectors could not take up an invitation to meet Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to discuss unrest over pay cuts because two of its senior officials were on a foreign holiday playing golf.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) confirmed yesterday that general secretary John Redmond and vice-president Willie Gleeson had been abroad since last week.
It is understood both are in Spain and departed last Tuesday after attending and addressing a protest meeting of frontline staff at the Basketball Arena, Tallaght, Dublin, last Monday.
Most Garda sources who spoke to The Irish Times said while the men were entitled to a holiday, their travelling abroad when Agsi began a work to rule over pay cuts was a public relations blow.
Agsi vice-president Padraic Dolan said the men had commitments to their families. He insisted both had stayed in contact with the national executive in a week when its members joined rank-and-file gardaí in refusing to use personal phones, laptops and cars for official business in protest at proposed cuts to their pay.
Mr Dolan yesterday said the issue of Agsi meeting Mr Callinan had arisen last week. While he stopped short saying the absence of Mr Redmond and Mr Gleeson meant the meeting could not take place, Garda sources have confirmed this was the case.
Mr Dolan said: “We, as an executive, have been looking for a meeting for some time with the commissioner and he has failed to meet us over the past year. And now all of a sudden everybody is anxious to meet.”
The meeting was proposed for last Wednesday, immediately after the Garda Representative Association met Mr Callinan to outline the hardship of members.
Mr Dolan said Agsi’s decision to undertake a work-to-rule campaign is aimed at senior Garda management just as much as the Government. The goodwill of sergeants and inspectors had been taken for granted for years and they needed to make a stand against cuts, he said.
He denied it would impinge in any way on the public.