GRA decides to accept ballot on changes


THE three year internal dispute which has split the main Garda staff association may be finally coming to an end, following a decision yesterday to accept a ballot on changes to the Garda Representative Association (GRA).

The decision to accept the ballot - proposed by the ICTU general secretary, Mr Peter Cassells - was made yesterday after what was described as an acrimonious executive meeting of the GRA.

There had been considerable opposition to the proposed changes, which are designed to make the organisation's management more open and to improve democratic representation at the executive table.

According to GRA sources, the day long meeting was at one point adjourned over differences of opinion on accepting or rejecting the package put forward by Mr Cassells.

Mr Cassells was the sixth mediator to try to resolve the dispute, which led to the break away of 3,600 members from the GRA.

The association previously had a united representation of more than 8,000 officers of garda rank.

It is now understood the GRA will brief its membership prior to a ballot of all officers of garda rank on Mr Cassells's proposals. The ballot is due to be held next month.

Delegations from the GRA, the breakaway Garda Federation and members of four non aligned garda divisions reached agreement on a proposed settlement three weeks ago. There was opposition to this inside the GRA, but this appears to have been overcome as a result of yesterday's meeting.