Garda sergeants defer second day of protest to enter conciliation process

AGSI claims new rosters will involve up to 47 extra shifts per year for some Garda members because working hours will be shorter

Garda sergeants and inspectors have deferred a planned protest over new rosters being introduced across the force after being invited to take part in a conciliation process by senior Garda management.

While the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) was on Wednesday set to agree the details of a second “day of action”, it has deferred those plans in favour of the conciliation process.

Last week over 200 Garda sergeants and inspectors marched in protest to Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin. The AGSI leadership handed in a letter for Garda Commissioner Drew Harris outlining its concerns about the new rosters, which it says will involve up to 47 extra shifts per year for some Garda members because shifts, currently 12 hours, will be shorter.

AGSI was due to engage in a similar second day of action, also involving some form of public protest, but will now instead participate in the conciliation process. It is intended to help overcome an impasse that has emerged over the mooted new rosters which Mr Harris wants to introduce.


In reply to queries, AGSI confirmed it had deferred its second day of action.

Garda Headquarters said Mr Harris had “repeatedly stated that he remains open to positive engagement” with the garda associations on the rosters issue.

“At the commissioner’s request, a special meeting of the Garda Conciliation Council will take place next Tuesday to discuss the issue of a new roster,” it said.

Mr Harris wants a new roster that “serves the public and supports the most vulnerable in society, ensures the health and wellbeing of Gardaí, and allows the Commissioner to effectively and efficiently manage the organisation within the budget available”, it added.

At last week’s march, AGSI general secretary Antoinette Cunningham dismissed as “premature” the decision by Mr Harris to ask the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to make itself available to help resolving the dispute. She said the internal conciliation process had not been exhausted, adding this must happen before the dispute went to the WRC.

The new move to use the conciliation process again was expected to involve AGSI, the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents almost 12,000 rank-and-file gardaí, and senior Garda management.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times