AGSI pulls out of Croke Park talks

 

The organisation representing middle-ranking gardaí has pulled out of talks on an extension to the Croke Park agreement.

The national executive of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) met this morning and decided it would be best not to continue with the discussions.

The association is the first representative body to pull out of the talks, which began early last week and aim to extend the Croke Park agreement between unions and the Government.

The Government is seeking to generate savings of about €1 billion on its pay and pensions bill.

General secretary of the association John Redmond said today he did not think it would re-enter the talks. Members were being asked to “give and give”, he said.

They had attended five meetings and there was nothing being given by officials, he added.

Members worked for 60 hours before they were allowed a day off, Mr Redmond said on RTÉ Radio's News at One. He said they had already given on issues including pay, allowances and extra working time. The association would not be involved in a process that reduced premium payments given in recognition of the “24/7” frontline nature of the role played by gardaí, he said.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins said today’s development must act as a “wake-up call” for Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

“He cannot continue to dismiss the genuine concerns of gardaí and of communities. He needs to curb his enthusiasm for demonising and dismissing those who disagree with him, and start recognising the damaging impact of the cuts he has handed down.

“My fear is that we are on the brink of a crisis within the Garda force. Minister Shatter needs to start listening to the gardaí about the very serious issues they are facing and engage with them on a way forward.”

Mr Collins also called on AGSI to re-enter the talks, saying its members “will be best served by the organisation being at the table as decisions are made that will affect their future”.

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