Hard-pressed gardaí seeking to leave force, claims official

Members cannot entertain further pay cuts, GRA’s John Healy tells conference

Deputy general secretary of the Garda Representative Association John Healy said an average of one Garda member per day was presenting to the association with serious financial problems.

Deputy general secretary of the Garda Representative Association John Healy said an average of one Garda member per day was presenting to the association with serious financial problems.

 

Rank-and-file members of the Garda are facing such financial hardship that their houses are being repossessed by the banks and many are searching for opportunities to leave the force and emigrate.

Deputy general secretary of the Garda Representative Association John Healy said an average of one Garda member per day was presenting to the association with serious financial problems.

He added many were suffering from the pay cuts introduced under the first Croke Park agreement and had exhausted the option of borrowing money from friends and family. His members simply could not entertain any further pay cuts.

He made his comments yesterday evening at the opening session of the association’s annual conference in Westport, Co Mayo. The GRA represents 11,200 rank-and-file members in a force of 13,400.

“The effects of the original cuts are only now kicking in,” Mr Healy said.

“With the severe cut in overtime and any ancillary earnings, gardaí are now reaching the end of their tether. They cannot pay their loans and they cannot pay their mortgages. We have hundreds of members who cannot afford petrol or diesel to drive to work.”

Negative equity

Last week the GRA had dealt with the case of one garda who had just handed back the keys of his home to the EBS and had been forced to take out another loan to cover the negative equity shortfall in the property.

“Many gardaí over the last two to three years would have been on an interest-only mortgage. Financial institutions are taking a new tough line now and they are deeming that people are incapable of paying their loans, even on interest only.

“A new attitude is being taken of agreeing transfers closer to people’s homes to try to once again assist in relation to the cost of travelling to work. That is how tight people are. People are voluntarily co-operating with institutions and handing back the keys of their houses.”

“We have many more who are at this point in time attempting to see if they can get involved in the new insolvency regulations in relation to trying to deal with their loans. But many more a looking at the option of emigrating... leaving the job entirely.

“Many of them see that as the only option. Let’s call a spade a spade; many of our members are bankrupt. The extent of what they owe and their capacity to earn don’t match up.”