GRA boss Pat Ennis earns €130,000 a year
Head of Garda Representative Association says he wants more professionalism in body
GRA general secretary Pat Ennis said infighting within the organisation is “political”. Photograph: Conor Ó Mearáin
Mr Ennis also told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he is supportive of change and that he wants to see more professionalism within the association.
He said he wants to see a more professional structure for the GRA with seven full time professionals operating to a regional structure. “Change is something I’ve sought for years,” he added.
The GRA represents more than 10,000 rank-and-file gardaí in a force of just over 13,000. Its leadership is likely to come under pressure from its membership at a special delegate conference next week following the publication of a damning report by Ampersand Consultants.
Mr Ennis said that the report had been commissioned by the GRA itself and that the “most harsh” language had come from their own members.
“I accept the findings. There’s no doubt that change is necessary.”
He said the association requires modernisation, improved transparency and unity and a new constitution and rules.
Part of the problem is the infighting at senior level, he said, which led to the claims of dysfunction. “The infighting is political and a consequence of decisions from the past and a lack of training.”
The consultants’ review found almost €660,000 was spent on expenses in 2016 by members of the association’s central executive committee. That figure represents one-quarter of the organisation’s income from members’ fees and government funding.
Much of the money was spent on subsistence and mileage; incurred by members travelling around their own divisions and driving to Dublin once a month for a two-day executive meeting.
“The accounting was done in an archaic way,” he said. “The levels of expenses were disproportionate.”
Mr Ennis said that increased ‘subs’ were one option to finance greater professionalism, but that members would have to see clear progress and then developments.