The Government is preparing to make a revised offer to An Garda Síochána to provide increased earnings over and above earlier proposals which are now at the centre of an industrial dispute.
It is understood the new terms will be an improvement on a deal offered to, but rejected by, rank-and-file gardaí a number of weeks ago.
Sources stressed last night that any revised offer will remain within the parameters of the Lansdowne Road public service pay agreement.
Both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on Tuesday insisted that a resolution to the dispute could only be found within the terms of the overall Lansdowne Road agreement.
A number of sources said it is hoped the leadership of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) would consider the revised proposals later in the week.
There is, however, caution in Government circles on whether any new proposals will be accepted and will be enough to prevent the threatened strike by over 12,000 gardaí next week.
Government sources pointed to the template of previous deals with nurses and firefighters. These boosted the earnings of newer entrants to both sectors.
It was also pointed out the Government has already agreed in principle to allow gardaí to have access to the Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court.
Offer so far
The previous offer would see a basic salary after training of €23,750, an unsocial hours payment of at least €5,937 and the proposed restoration of rent allowance of about €4,000. This figure of almost €34,000 does not include overtime and uniform and boot allowances. The previous deal also restored the payment of increments.
Sources said these earnings would be increased further in a new offer, which it is hoped could prevent the widescale Garda strikes planned for each of the four Fridays in November.
While some sources said the talks with both the GRA, which has over 10,000 members, and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) are complementary, it was claimed by others that securing GRA agreement at least would prevent the scenario of almost the entire police force withdrawing their labour.
Further challenges are anticipated in getting the leadership of both the GRA and AGSI to sell any deal to their members.
The GRA held talks with Department of Justice officials yesterday, and the AGSI is due in today for its third set of face-to-face talks in six days.
However, AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham said on Tuesday no progress had been made so far "which would warrant us calling off our planned industrial action".
“We entered two days of talks last week and gave certain commitments which we fulfilled, however, it is disappointing that we are not in a position to report any meaningful progress,” Ms Cunningham said.
Ms Fitzgerald said that while there is “great admiration for the difficult job which members of An Garda Síochána do day in, day out in protecting our community . . . we cannot let that admiration and respect blind us to the consequences of trying to resolve this dispute outside general policy in relation to public service pay”.
She said the country would face very significant challenges if there was a widespread withdrawal of labour by a substantial number of gardaí.
The Tánaiste said she had met with the Garda Commissioner to discuss issues relating to the dispute, including contingency plans.
Last Friday the AGSI members boycotted the Garda IT system, Pulse, and will do so again this Friday but escalate their action. From 7am this Friday until 7am on Saturday members will refuse to use Pulse and also decline to undertake administrative duties such as detailing members for duty, processing files or responding to correspondence from management.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Government announced the full membership of its Public Service Pay Commission. Along with the former chairman of the Labour Court Kevin Duffy, who will chair the new body, the members are Marian Corcoran, Ultan Courtney, Ruth Curran, Noel Dowling, Seán Lyons and Peter McLoone.