Charlie Flanagan: Contingency plans 'well underway' ahead of Garda strike

Industrial action looks set to go ahead after the GRA's executive turned down the latest proposals from the government

Charlie Flanagan: Contingency plans 'well underway' ahead of Garda strike

Charlie Flanagan and Frances Fitzgerald. Image: RollingNews.ie

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has said he cannot "think of more serious matters" than a Garda strike.

A withdrawal of labour by officers looks set to go ahead on Friday, after the Garda Representative Association (GRA) executive rejected the latest proposals from the government late last night.

The association's executive committee had been considering the proposals from the Department of Justice, with talks having continued late into Monday night.

However, talks concluded after members unanimously rejected the deal put forward by the WRC.

The proposals are believed to have included a plan for a €4,000 rent allowance to be restored to officers, as well as additional pay for time spent briefing colleagues before the start of a new shift.

The package was worth around €30 million, according to Martin Wall of the Irish Times.

The executive of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) is meeting in Dublin this morning to discuss the proposals.

The Cabinet will meet this afternoon and all aspects of the Garda dispute will be discussed by the ministers and Taoiseach.

Last night, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said: "We are disappointed by this rejection but remain committed to exploring every option, within the Lansdowne Road Agreement, to resolve the matter."

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Charlie Flanagan said "our ultimate aim is to see a resolution to this dispute, and no strike".

He argued: "A Garda strike is a very, very serious issue in any society. I can't think of more serious matters than a withdrawal on the part of security forces and the forces of law and order of their labour.

"It's potentially a very, very dangerous issue for society. And yes of course I believe there is sufficient time now to allow talks be reconvened and allow talks to be continued."

He also stressed that contingency plans "are well underway" in preparation under the auspices of Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Industry Correspondent with the Irish Times Martin Wall says back up plans are becoming more important as days go by.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Wall explained: "I think the focus from the government over the last week has been trying to get a deal rather than trying to talk about contingencies.

"Now the deal seems to be slipping away, I think the focus will come back on the contingency arrangements - with the provisal that this still could go to the Labour Court, perhaps on Wednesday".