Gardaí refuse to volunteer at Croke Park

A Garda spokesman said there would be 'full cover' for tonight's Croke Park match.

A Garda spokesman said there would be 'full cover' for tonight's Croke Park match.


Gardaí are tonight set to cause the first major disruption to public policing as part of their protest about pay cuts when they refuse to volunteer to work inside Croke Park for an intercounty football game.

The move will have knock-on effects across Dublin with foot patrols having to be scaled back to allow other gardaí to be diverted to police the stadium. Gardaí have refused to volunteer for overtime to work at the game.

A Garda spokesman said there would be “full cover” for tonight’s match between Dublin and Mayo, however.

“There will be sufficient numbers to cover inside and outside the grounds, including exits, traffic and junction control,” the spokesman said.

“People going to the match will see no difference at all in terms of the number of gardaí on the ground, and there will be no diminution of security.”

Non-public duty

The provision of policing inside sports stadiums is known as a non-public duty that the GAA and similar bodies must pay for themselves. Gardaí provide such services by volunteering for overtime. They are not rostered for such work as part of their normal duties.

The reduced patrolling in parts of Dublin city centre and some suburbs tonight to allow rostered gardaí to work at the game means some public order black spots will not be as heavily policed as normal.

There will not be sufficient numbers of gardaí on rostered duties in the nearby Garda stations of Mountjoy, Store Street and the Bridewell.

Senior sources estimated that about 80 gardaí would need to be taken off the streets and reassigned to police inside the stadium for the meeting of Dublin and Mayo.

The action has effectively been co-ordinated by the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said he had the “greatest confidence” that the Garda Commissioner “will ensure that members of the force fully and properly fulfil their duties”.

GRA accusation

Speaking to The Irish Times earlier today, Mr Shatter said it was “regrettable” that the Garda Representative Association had not participated in talks for a new Croke Park deal.

"It is also regrettable that they are misleading people by stating that they had not capacity to participate,” he said.

Yesterday the GRA accused the Government and trade unions of excluding them from the negotiations, but the Minister said this was “misleading”.

“The Garda representative bodies have in the past participated and talks have taken place they chose at a very early stage to exit from the talks. As a consequence they weren’t able to present, decided not to present to those engaged on the other side with the labour relations commission the very special issues members of the Garda force are concerned about."

However, the GRA said: “The trade union movement now dares to suggest that the Garda Representative Association could have received a similar deal to prison officers and firefighters – and influencing the decision. Let’s put this notion to rest: the gardaí were never invited into the main talks and have been excluded, since the formation of the State, from negotiations on matters of Garda pay.”