GRA calls on Callinan to 'speak out'

PJ Stone and members of the Garda Representative Association, (GRA) following their meeting with the Garda Commissioner at Garda HQ in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, today. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

PJ Stone and members of the Garda Representative Association, (GRA) following their meeting with the Garda Commissioner at Garda HQ in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, today. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Wed, Feb 20, 2013, 00:00

The biggest organisation representing members of the Garda has called on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to speak out publicly about the lack of resources in the force instead of making “baffling” statements that the Government was providing him with all the resources he needed.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents 11,200 rank and file gardaí, has also said a planned protest action for Friday would go ahead despite its talks with Commissioner Callinan at Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park , Dublin, today.

GRA general secretary PJ Stone said the talks between his 31-strong national executive and Commissioner Callinan had been “a very serious exchange” of views.

“I’m quite satisfied that some of the information which was given to him today in the strictest of confidence moved him and certainly gave him food for thought,” he said of the meeting arranged so the GRA leaders could outline the hardship their members were facing as a result of reduced remuneration.

“What we pointed out to the Garda Commissioner is that while he is given limited resources, well then that’s what should be said in the public ear when we are talking about resources that’s available. The Government have already left the Commissioner short in this year’s budget for the payment and provision of wages. So it baffles us when we hear then from the Garda Commissioner about the adequate resources that are available to him.”

“I think the Commissioner accepts fully that he has to operate within the budget that’s made available to him. But we also made the point that that budget does not allow for the proper provision of policing services then perhaps that’s what should be said so that people can be aware of it. He said he would reflect on that.”

Mr Stone said the action planned from Friday, when members of the GRA will refuse to use their own personal cars, phones or laptops for official in protest at Government proposals to cut their earnings, would not disrupt policing.

“It is merely intended to show that we’re serious; that there will be an incremental approach to any visit on the pay and conditions of the members of the Garda Siochana. I think it’s very unfair, and I think someone made the point to the commissioner, that we have members who when they retire do not enjoy the same longevity of life as others simply because they are working nights and weekends.

"And it is grossly unfair that in the discussions which are taking place currently, that people are going to reduce those earnings of members and they are hard earned…. they are penalty earnings as opposed to premium earnings.”