Garda sergeants and inspectors demand 16.5% pay increase

Strike threat on pay: AGSI meets Minister for Justice to have ‘frank exchange of views’

Garda sergeants and inspectors have thrown down the gauntlet to the Government in setting out their claim for pay restoration while maintaining their threat to strike.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has demanded its members receive an additional 16.5 per cent pay, lodging the claim during talks with Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

It says the demand is not a pay rise but instead amounts to everything its members lost in the recession including pay cuts, the pension levy and pay increases foregone.

AGSI general secretary John Jacob said the amount being sought did not factor in the universal social charge.


“Everybody has had to pay that so we are not going to quibble with that,” he said. “But we have been hit very hard with everything else, including allowances being reduced, and we believe 16½ per cent is very fair.”

He added that the 1½ hour meeting between AGSI and the Tánaiste and her officials had seen a “frank exchange of views” at which Ms Fitzgerald “made no promises”.

“We were happy to meet her and present our case; where it goes from here we will just wait and see,” he said, adding the timeframe for the 16.5 per cent pay increase had not been set.

Conference in Athlone

The association will meet for a special delegate conference in Athlone, Co Westmeath on October 17th, at which joining rank-and-file gardaí in four days of strikes will be considered.

Mr Jacob said Ms Fitzgerald was aware of that situation and promised she would take the claim made by the association to her Cabinet colleagues for further discussion.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents more than 10,500 rank-and-file gardaí in a 13,000-strong force, is planning to strike on the four Fridays in November unless it gets pay restoration or a pathway to it.

The Government and senior Garda management could put in place a contingency plan involving the 2,000 members of AGSI. But if its members join the GRA strike, it would leave 250 senior officers commanding about 2,000 probationer, recruit and reserve gardaí to police the State.

AGSI said last week there had been a "mood swing" within its membership since the drivers at Dublin Bus secured an 11.25 per cent pay increase.

However, Mr Jacob said neither the bus drivers’ pay increase nor the GRA’s decision to strike had swayed its course of action. He said AGSI believed the findings of a review of Garda pay and conditions taking place under the old Haddington Road Agreement and due for completion in December would be acted on, or at least elements of it would be.

He said AGSI had only decided to step away from the Lansdowne Road Agreement when it realised the review had no standing.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times