It is right that politics does not interfere with day-to-day policing, according to Justice Minister Helen McEntee.
Speaking on On the Record with Seán Defoe today, Ms Entee said she will not interfere with dispute between rank-and-file Gardaí and senior management.
“What people are asking me to do is tell the Garda Commissioner who should be working where and when,” she said.
“We've moved away from that style of policing where politics interferes in the day-to-day running of An Garda Síochána and I think that’s only right.
“I’m saying very clearly this has to be resolved through dialogue – the mechanism the supports are there and available and that is how it has to be resolved.”
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) announced rank-and-file Gardaí voted to strike on November 10th as work disputes with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris deepen.
Gardaí also voted to refuse to work voluntary overtime on October 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st in protest over plans to return the pre-COVID work roster.
Ms Entee said the plan to return the previous, six-days-on, four-days-off, roster from November was made in July as a new roster had not been suggested.
“Nobody’s saying this roster is the right roster we should have forevermore,” she said.
“In the absence of a new roster being made, and negotiations had been ongoing for three years... a decision was taken back in July to what was an agreed roster that isn’t perfect but would provide a better service for people.
“The current COVID roster was put in place when the country was in lockdown, there was no nighttime economy... you have the same number of Gardaí working on a Tuesday as you have on a Saturday.
“You have less visible hours of policing.”
She said a productive dialogue on a new roster is the only way to resolve the dispute.
“Everybody wants to negotiate a new roster,” she said. “Everybody wants to find a way to go forward, everybody wants a roster fit for the world we live in and provides the best service possible but also allows for that work life balance that responds to the needs of the members.
“We need all of the associations around the table.”
Before the GRA voted to take action against management, it also held a vote of no-confidence in Mr Harris, which passed overwhelmingly by 98.7%.
Ms Entee said she can't say why people decided to “take that particular vote or use that particular language in the vote”.
“I made it clear [to the GRA] I thought personalising an issue like is not the way to go.”
Speaking on the vote, Ms Entee said she thinks both the Government, the Commissioner and the GRA have moved on.
“I have confidence in the Commissioner, Government has confidence in the Commissioner,” she said.