Garda disciplinary threat lifted

Four sergeants walked out of Shatter and Callinan conference speeches

The threat of disciplinary action against four Garda sergeants who walked out of conference speeches by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has been lifted.

The men had been facing potential disciplinary action ranging from a verbal warning to dismissal when they were summoned to a meeting in Templemore yesterday with senior officers led by Assistant Commissioner Fintan Fanning, who is in charge of human resources across the force.

Earlier this week they had walked out on speeches by Mr Shatter and Mr Callinan at the annual conference in Sligo of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) as a means of registering their lack of confidence in them over pay cuts and reduced resources.

The four sergeants from the Kilkenny-Carlow division were accompanied to the meeting by members of the Agsi national executive led by general secretary John Redmond. An agreed statement was released after a meeting lasting more than six hours stating that "all parties consider the matter now resolved and look forward to continuing to serve the community".


The statement said: "The four representatives of Kilkenny-Carlow branch of Agsi indicated that they meant to cause no offence to the commissioner. They personally have full confidence in the commissioner of An Garda Síochána. The commissioner enjoys the full confidence of [Agsi]."

It added: "The speech by the Garda commissioner to conference and his comments on the RTÉ News at One were particularly helpful and magnanimous and have reinforced the excellent relations between Agsi and senior Garda management.

“Members of Agsi will never shirk their responsibility to either the Garda commissioner or members of the public. The representatives of the Kilkenny-Carlow branch regret that this whole matter has been played out on TV and in the public arena”.

The four Garda sergeants staged the first of their two walkouts when they left the Agsi conference hall on Monday evening as Mr Shatter was due to begin speaking. They repeated the action again when Mr Callinan addressed delegates on Tuesday afternoon. They explained that their protest had been mandated by their local branch in a vote last month as a way of registering the lack of confidence held by sergeants and inspectors from the branch in Mr Shatter and Mr Callinan.

Agsi said that while it did not agree with the walkout, it believed it was “outrageous” that members of a staff association would be disciplined for staging a protest.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times