Government to fast-track law to give gardaí WRC access

Justice Minister says 'working together constructively' is needed to avoid the 'difficulties we have seen in the past'

Government to fast-track law to give gardaí WRC access

Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Government is fast tracking a law to give gardaí access to the Labour Court and Workplace Relations Commission.

However, gardaí will not be given the right to strike and their associations will not be recognised as unions.

The Cabinet has approved the measures following last year’s pay dispute in which a Garda strike was averted at the last minute.

The changes were recommended in a report by a working group on industrial relations structures for An Garda Síochána, with the Government today confirming the new laws will be 'prioritised'.

In a statement, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: "Today is an important day in the evolution of industrial relation in An Garda Síochána. A stable industrial relations environment is in the interests of Garda management, members of An Garda Síochána and in the public interest.

"Working together constructively, with access to the industrial relations machinery of the State, will ensure that the difficulties we have seen in the past are avoided into the future."

Sinn Féin, however, claims Garda and Defence Force associations should be allowed become trade unions.

The party's justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire argued: “An Garda Síochána spend their careers in the service of the people and regularly put themselves at risk to safeguard public safety. They deserve better than a race to the bottom.

"They deserve proper representation to safeguard their pay and conditions.”