Rank-and-file gardaí set for more talks with justice officials

GRA describes talks on strike and pay issues as ‘open and frank’

Rank-and-file gardaí will hold talks over the weekend with officials from the Department of Justice as they seek higher pay and the Government tries to avert planned strikes.

Members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents 10,500 gardaí in a force of just over 13,000, yesterday met Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to discuss the matter.

Both sides were remaining tight-lipped after meeting for just over an hour at the Department of Justice in Dublin, though sources said the meeting was constructive.

It was agreed GRA negotiators would meet officials from the Department of Justice in the coming days to discuss the pay issue further.


Once the parameters of what gardaí are seeking are set down specifically, the Tánaiste is expected to re-engage with the GRA on the issue.

That will not happen until after next Tuesday’s budget is completed at the earliest.

Open and frank

The GRA issued a statement describing yesterday’s talks as “open and frank”, adding that the views of its members were heard.

“The GRA is open to the possibility of further discussions, and these talks will take place in the near future,” the brief statement said.

A fortnight ago the GRA announced after a special delegate conference in Tullamore, Co Offaly, that it would strike for 24 hours from 7am on each of the four Fridays of next month as part of its efforts for pay restoration.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and her senior team must now put in place a contingency plan for policing on those dates.

That planning may have to take into account the absence of some 2,000 Garda sergeants and inspectors from their duties on some or all of the proposed GRA strike days.

Pay claim

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) has already demanded a pay claim of 16.5 per cent during its talks with the Tánaiste earlier this week.

The association said this covered the earnings its members had lost since the recession in pay cuts, lower allowances and pension levies.


General secretary

John Jacob

said the demand was one for pay restoration rather than a pay increase.

Agsi will hold a special delegate conference this month where a proposal to join the GRA on strike will be debated.

The Agsi leadership has suggested there was a “mood swing” within the organisation when Dublin Bus drivers received a pay rise of 11.25 per cent.

If Agsi joins the GRA on strike some 250 officers at the rank of superintendent and higher would be available to police the State alongside just under 2,000 recruit and probationer gardaí and members of the Garda Reserve.

Government sources said last night the GRA and Agsi needed to accept the State was confined by public sector pay agreements.

They said that any pay increase would likely lead to large-scale industrial unrest.

Exactly how much of a threat Agsi’s pay row poses to policing will only become known next Monday week after its special delegate conference decides on what course of industrial, if any, it should take.

If it did not join the GRA strike days the contingency plan for those days would be much easier to formulate.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times