Taoiseach urges garda unions to talk to the Justice Minister

Both the GRA and AGSI are to withdraw labour for four days

Taoiseach urges garda unions to talk to the Justice Minister

Taoiseach Enda Kenny addressing the inaugural meeting of the Citizens Assembly in Dublin Castle | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny says the government is taking the threat of strike action by gardaí very seriously.

Mr Kenny has asked the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) to sit down and talk to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

In the Dáil, he Taoiseach appealed for this to be resolved.

"Nobody wants to see a situation where our gardaí are not on the streets doing the public duty that they've always done.

"And I would urge them to accept the invitation from the Minister for Justice, taking into account the decision of Cabinet this morning in respect of a public pay commission".

In a statement yesterday, Ms Fitzgerald said: "It is disappointing that the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors have announced their intention to take industrial action.

"This is particularly the case as they have not balloted their members on the taking of this action. Indeed, it is just seven weeks since their membership voted to accept the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) by over 70%.

Ms Fitzgerald added that she remains focused on finding a pathway to negotiate with AGSI in a way which is fair to their members, the taxpayer and other public sector workers.

"How we can make sure this is resolved"

While Minister Leo Varadkar claims people will never look at the gardaí the same way again if planned strikes go ahead.

 He said he hopes a deal can be reached with the two groups.

"Obviously we all hope that a strike can be avoided - I do think that if a strike goes ahead that people won't ever look at the gardaí in the same way.

"It was only a week or two ago that the sergeants and inspectors voted by 70% to accept the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

"I hope its less about contingency planning today, and more about how we can make sure this is resolved."

Over 12,000 gardaí are expected to withdraw their labour for the four Fridays in November.

In addition, members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) will not engage in any Pulse-related activity on Friday, October 21st and October 28th.

The AGSI overwhelmingly voted to mount an escalating campaign of industrial action. The AGSI say it is not a strike, as individual officers will not be reporting for duty.

While the Garda Representative Association (GRA), representing rank and file gardaí, had already decided to withdraw their labour on November 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th.