Taoiseach restates view gardaí should have stayed in Croke Park talks
Fianna Fáil leader claims Garda morale low during sharp Dáil exchange
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said other front line workers than gardaí who put their lives on the line, including prison officers or firefighters, had stayed within the Croke Park II talks process. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has repeated his view that organisations representing gardaí should have remained within the Croke Park talks during sharp Dáil exchanges today.
Other front line workers who put their lives on the line, he said - be they prison officers or firefighters - had stayed within the talks process and made their case about issues such as premium payments, overtime, weekend rosters and unsocial hours.
“I have absolute respect for the Garda Síochána and the work that they do, but my preference would be that they had stayed at the representative table and, as they are not a trade union, to make their case to the Labour Relations Commission, ’’ he added.
The Taoiseach was replying to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who claimed Garda morale was very low.
The job of a garda was different to other posts, he said. When the Taoiseach compared this job to others, he was doing a disservice to gardaí and showing a fundamental lack of respect for what they did.
“Their job is different to most other public servants,’’ he added. He said others were not not in the position of chasing armed gangs who showed no respect for human life.
Mr Kenny said he did not accept Mr Martin’s attempts to court popularity with gardaí in a blatant political fashion.