Seán Sherlock TD
02 November 2016

Labour spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Seán Sherlock, has welcomed confirmation from the Taoiseach today that in the event of industrial action by Gardaí on Friday, 999 calls will continue to be answered as normal.

During Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil, Deputy Sherlock moved to allay the fears of communities across the country that if talks at the Labour Court do not produce any resolution to the Garda pay dispute, emergency phone calls would still be responded to during the strike period.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“I welcome the Taoiseach’s confirmation to me today that 999 calls will continue to be answered in the event of Garda strike action on Friday.

People deserve to feel safe in their homes. And in particular those living in rural or remote areas need to know that in the event of an emergency their calls won’t go unanswered; or if a neighbourhood watch programme reports a local crime, that call won’t be ignored. We’ve been hearing reports from charities that care for older people about a rise in calls to national helplines and it’s natural that some of our older citizens, particularly those who live by themselves, might feel especially vulnerable in the event of strike action.

It is also welcome that the Garda Emergency Response Unit and Armed Regional Support unit will be asked to report to duty as normal. But the Government needs to ensure that, if the strike does go ahead this Friday, an adequate contingency plan is put in place so people right across the country can continue to feel safe in their homes.

It goes without saying that we in the Labour Party hope a resolution can be found with Gardaí at the Labour Court today. But it should also go without saying that we believe it didn’t need to be like this.

For weeks now, my party leader Brendan Howlin has been proposing a range of alternatives. The most significant of these – the establishment of a social dialogue that would involve public servants in discussions relating to public service provision as well as pay – is now receiving widespread support.

We need to keep teachers in classrooms, nurses in hospitals, Gardaí on the beat – the more than 300,000 public servants that work in all sorts of sectors need to be at work, not on strike.”


Note for editors:

In response to questioning from Deputy Sean Sherlock during Leaders’ Questions earlier today, the Taoiseach included the below in his response:

“The Garda Representative Association has already indicated the emergency response unit and the armed regional support units will be asked to report for duty as normal.  It wants to see special arrangements in respect of the national surveillance unit and the technical bureau.  These units are at the heart of any response to a threat that arises to the protection of the State insofar as the gardaí are concerned. 

The Commissioner moved yesterday to have every garda contacted.  The Commissioner is also endeavouring to prioritise certain areas including armed response, community safety and protection, which involves the operation of the 999 facilities, security and intelligence and maintaining a presence at airports and ports to ensure they continue to operate normally.  Calls will be answered when calls come in as they do every day even with the full force on duty. “

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