Garda morale low, reveals staff association survey

Rank-and-file gardaí seek pay rise as part of review process under Haddington Road deal

The vast majority of Garda sergeants and inspectors believe morale within the force is very poor, according to a survey to be published today.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) conducted a survey among its members ahead of a meeting with Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Eighty-six per cent of respondents said morale was either low or very low.

The survey comes one week after the publication of a Garda Inspectorate report recommending widespread systemic change to Irish policing as an ineffective structure struggling to cope.

Individuals and team

The AGSI survey had a 27 per cent response rate from its 1,928 members. It found 57 per cent of respondents felt their own morale was low or very low, and 68 per cent thought this applied to their team or unit. The results will be presented by the association’s executive committee to the Garda Commissioner today to set out areas of concern.


John Jacob, AGSI's deputy general secretary, said Ms O'Sullivan would be asked to work with them on improving the situation. "Up to now, people have been saying morale is low but now we can actually say why – the areas that people are unhappy with in their employment," he said. "A lack of clear responsibility, an increased workload; we now have something tangible to take in to management. We can say to the commissioner – we are here to work with you at improving morale."

Undefined responsibilities

The research found 63 per cent of respondents were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their roles while their responsibilities were “not clearly defined”.

Almost three-quarters expressed concern about their workload due to a reduction in the number of supervisors.

Meanwhile, rank-and-file gardaí have sought a pay rise as part of a review process established under the Haddington Road agreement, saying lower rates in recent years were giving rise to their own significant morale problems.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has said a new police service allowance should be established "to compensate for the special disadvantages associated with police life".

It has suggested a remuneration review body be established on a permanent basis. It said the risk gardaí face should be reflected in wages. “Few employments require the wearing of an anti-stab or an anti-ballistics vest as basic, standard safety equipment.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent