Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Pádraig MacLochlainn TD, has welcomed the ruling by the European Committee of Social Rights that Gardaí should be allowed to join unions, negotiate wages and strike.
Deputy MacLochlainn said:
“Sinn Féin welcomes the decision by the European Committee of Social Rights that Gardaí are entitled to the same rights to join unions, negotiate wages and to go on strike if they are being treated unjustly.
“It is important that the women and men of An Garda Síochána are given the same rights as other workers in the public sector.
“This government has closed 140 Garda stations, cut the numbers of Gardaí by 10% which has meant the number of serving members has dropped below the dangerous threshold of 13,000 and they have yet to replace hundreds of old Garda vehicles.
“Throughout all of this, the government has insisted on insulting the intelligence of the frontline Gardaí and the wider public by using buzzwords such as modernisation, efficiency and smart policing to cover up the reality of these cuts.
“They have tried to shackle the Gardaí by not allowing them to have the same rights as other public service workers by denying them the right to union representation.
“Sinn Féin is calling on the new Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, to treat members of An Garda Síochána with respect.
“The former Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, didn’t attend the AGSI conference despite being invited, nor did he send a replacement.
“The GRA haven’t invited the Minister to two annual conferences in a row.
“This is indicative that the relationship between the Minister for Justice of the day and the Gardaí has never been worse.
“We are also calling on the new Minister to respect the decision of the European Committee of Social Rights and to start to rebuilding the fragmented relationship between the Ministry and the Gardaí.”