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Budgetary measures for the Gardaí

Image by Conor McMahon

Morale among gardaí in the Liberties and South Inner City is at an all time low according to a Garda spokesman.

The news comes at a time when the two main Garda representative bodies are at loggerheads with the Government over the next round of the Croke Park Agreement.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has refused to engage in talks with the Government. The Garda Representatives Association (GRA), which represents the rank and file, said they too will not be participating.

The Government is currently attempting to reduce the public sector wage bill by €1 billion over the next three years and has targeted An Garda Síochána for €60 million of this, with €16 million of the saving to come this year.

Damien McCarthy, GRA spokesman for the South City area, spoke to the Liberty and commented that his members were frustrated and disillusioned with the actions of the Government.

“At previous talks we agreed to, and implemented, the biggest roster change in the force in decades. This was to ensure the best possible use of manpower in order to keep gardaí on the street to protect and serve the public,” he said.

“In return, the Government promised no reduction in salaries. We kept our part of the deal. Now they have reneged on theirs. There is quite simply nothing to talk about,” he added.

McCarthy said that the south of the city is a very busy division but is hampered by a severe lack of resources.

“We simply do not have the necessary tools to provide a public service. The age profile in the division is the youngest in the country, most of the men have less than ten years of service and when experienced members are retired out we are not allowed to replace them.

This has led to a reduction in manpower and, all things considered, it is hardly surprising that morale is as low as it is,” he said.

He furthermore commented on the condition of the present Kevin Street Garda station, describing it as “a disgrace and totally unfit for the purpose”.

“We were promised a new station years ago and for a while it looked to be going ahead, but then work stopped on the site before building actually commenced and nothing has happened since. We have given up hoping it will ever happen,” he said.

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