Gardaí picket Croke Park talks
PJ Stone (second right) leads members of the Garda Representative Association from talks with the Garda Commissioner at Garda Headquarters in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Gardaí today placed a picket or “placard protest” outside the building where trade unions are meeting with Government officials as part of the ongoing negotiations around an extension of the Croke Park agreement.
The gardaí carried placards in an action similar to a traditional picket line industrial dispute action.
The placards read: ‘1913 Lockout: 2013 Sell Out’; ‘Come Out, Not Sell Out’; ‘Betrayed by Unions, Shattered by Cuts’.
The final placard is a reference to the GRA’s dissatisfaction with Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in whom it has already passed a motion of no confidence.
While the association had mooted holding placard protests outside some ministerial meetings in Dublin as part of Ireland’s presidency of the EU, this morning’s action was a surprise and highlights a major rift between gardaí at the trade unions in the talks.
However, GRA sources said the association’s protest is not a picket line that others are urged not to cross. The negotiations are taking place at Lansdowne House, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
The protest involved about 30 rank-and-file gardaí, all of whom are national executive members of the Garda Representative Association.
The body represents 11,200 rank-and-file gardaí in a 13,400-strong force. It has already abandoned the talks on the basis that it would discuss any proposals that involve further cuts to its members pay and allowances.
The surprise placard protest comes one day ahead of the start of protest actions by rank-and-file gardaí over the proposed cuts. The gardaí will from tomorrow cease using their mobile phones, cars and laptop computers for official business dubbed an action that will “turn off the goodwill tap”.