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Government need to get to grips with unprecedented Garda industrial action – O’Brien

29 September, 2016 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice and Equality Jonathan O’Brien TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, has said that with less than six weeks to go before unprecedented planned industrial action by Gardaí, the government need to outline exactly what they are planning to do to bring a speedy resolution to the development.

Teachta O’Brien said:

“Whilst economic conditions may be improving, they’re not being felt by citizens and communities on-the-ground who continue to struggle with a cost of living crisis that continues to spiral out of control and underfunded public services.

“Such a reality is no different for many members of the public service and that’s reflected in the industrial unrest that’s heightened in the last few months. We’ve seen our LUAS drivers, bus drivers and teachers start to make justifiable demands for fair pay.

“Yesterday, the announcement by the Garda Representative Association that they are going to engage in four days of industrial action is unprecedented and this is not a case of members phoning in sick on a ‘blue flu’ as seen in the past. That was made very clear yesterday by Pat Ennis of the GRA.

“He said that what they would be engaging in is a withdrawal of services. Such action by a key organ of the State is obviously of utmost significance and concern to citizens, and it’s obviously not action Gardaí want to partake in.

“When there are new members of An Garda Síochána on a starting salaries of €23,500 sleeping in cars because they are unable to afford spiralling rent costs is perhaps not surprising.

“That is what I’ve heard first hand by members of the force in such a predicament.

“To try and use that situation to get concessions on a quid pro-quo basis as part of the deal that was put to the GRA last week is disgraceful behaviour from government. The withdrawal of the €4,000 rent allowance payment should not and should never have been used as a bargaining chip.

“With less than six weeks to go before this unprecedented action, it’s imperative this becomes the number one priority for government to resolve, and they need to outline what exactly they are planning to do to bring a speedy resolution to these developments.” 

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