Government rejects Bill allowing gardaí to go on strike

Minister says move would raise most serious issues about maintaining law and order

The security of the State can be maintained while allowing gardaí to go on strike, a Government backbencher has claimed.

Labour TD for Clare Michael McNamara introduced legislation in the Dáil on Friday to allow gardaí and the Defence Forces to engage in collective bargaining, to join national trade union umbrella organisations and to allow gardaí go on strike.

But the Government has rejected the legislation and Mr McNamara’s colleagues in Labour and Fine Gael will vote against the Industrial Relations (Members of An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces) Bill.

Fianna Fáil also opposes a right to strike for gardaí.


Mr McNamara said “we need a health service that functions at all times, but nurses can go on strike”.

He said: “Maintaining a health service while allowing people who work therein to go on strike are not anathematic. It is possible. Maintaining the security of the State while allowing gardaí to go on strike is equally possible,” and other countries had done it.

But Minister of State Aodháin Ó Riordáin said that “giving members of an Garda Síochána the right to strike would raise the most serious issues in respect of the capacity of the State to ensure the maintenance of law and order”.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times