Rank-and-file gardaí reject Drew Harris’s WRC proposal in roster dispute

Four Garda representative bodies met Commissioner on Thursday and are due to meet again on Friday

Rank-and-file gardaí have rejected Garda Commissioner Drew Harris’s suggestion of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in their dispute over rostering.

The four Garda representative bodies met the Commissioner on Thursday evening on the roster dispute and are due to meet again on Friday.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has offered to enter into further negotiations under the umbrella of the WRC or an internal resolution process.

However, following the meeting, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) held a meeting of its central executive committee and issued a statement in which is rejected that proposal.


GRA general secretary Ronan Slevin said the body will hold further talks with the commissioner on Friday.

“Today’s meeting with the Garda Commissioner was brief and direct, with two options on the table,” he said.

“We have rejected the option of immediate involvement with the WRC as we have consistently stated that we do not believe internal negotiations have been exhausted.

“The GRA executive considered the merits of the alternative option of internal national discussions as suggested.

“However, we continue to have a number of concerns which we intend to raise with the commissioner in the morning before agreeing to any such course of action.”

He added that the GRA would not be making any further comment until after Friday’s meeting has concluded.

In response to questions, Garda Headquarters said: “The Garda Commissioner and the management side met the four Garda associations this afternoon and a further meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. There is no further information at this time.”

The GRA is fighting to maintain the pandemic rosters, based on 12-hour shifts, as they are popular with gardaí. Longer shifts – compared with those of eight hours or 10 hours – mean members work an average of six fewer shifts every 60 days.

The 12-hour shifts also mean more of the hours Garda members work are covered by unsocial hours’ allowances, thus increasing their remuneration.

Mr Harris has said the current 12-hour rosters are “costly” and, because the Garda has to operate within a set budget, funding the pandemic roster was leading to a loss of policing hours.

He has put that loss at 60 hours of police work per Garda member every year, or 13,000 per month, which he said was badly needed to bolster street policing.

Garda Headquarters has previously said the roster the force will revert to from November 6th was in place for eight years before the pandemic. It said lengthy talks about completely new rosters took place with the GRA and AGSI, but no agreement was reached.

The GRA, which represents about 11,000 rank-and-file gardaí in a 13,900-strong force, voted overwhelmingly backed a vote of no confidence in Mr Harris, largely based on the rostering issue.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times