Commissioner must come to the table to end Gardai dispute

13 March 2023

Labour justice spokesperson, Aodhán Ó’Ríordáin has today (Monday, 13th March) demanded that the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris comes to the negotiating table to settle an escalating dispute over new working time arrangements for Gardaí.

Speaking following a Day of Action organised by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), Deputy Ó’Ríordáin said:

“It is clear that this dispute points to much deeper issues and an all-time low of morale in the force. The reality is that members of our Gardaí are dealing with constant uncertainty on hours, on staffing levels and something needs to be done.

“The AGSI have said the membership is angry, upset and frustrated that they do not know what their work pattern is. This is a situation which would be unacceptable in any other workplace.

“The fact of the matter is, in March 2020 tens of thousands of Gardaí moved overnight to a new roster to police the pandemic; commitments were made by the Garda Commissioner at the time that they would return to normal working patterns. These commitments have not been honoured. That is not acceptable. Workplace change cannot be a one-way street.

The AGSI have sought that roster negotiations are re-opened but the Garda Commissioner has refused to allow this. He needs to reflect on that and come to the negotiation table. The Minister for Justice should also be insisting on it. Frontline Gardaí are seeing crime continuing to spiral out of control and Minister needs to be more involved.

“Fine Gael have utterly failed to invest in the service and get to grips with the level of crime and anti-social behaviour that is plaguing society. Unrest in the force is yet another consequence of that fact.”

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