herald

Monday 5 December 2016

GRA boss faces vote of no confidence as talks continue on €45m deal

Pat Ennis
Pat Ennis

The head of the under-pressure Garda Representative Association (GRA), Pat Ennis, faces a vote of no confidence today from rank and file gardai over his handling of negotiations with garda management.

The GRA will meet at its headquarters in Phibsborough for the second time in 48 hours to discuss the fallout from last week's Labour Court decision to defer strike action at the eleventh hour.

Anger

There is particular anger over the decision by Mr Ennis and others to agree to a derogation at a meeting on Thursday morning, just hours before the planned strike action.

GRA figures said the decision was taken without the consent of the wider executive, which, they argued, represented a breach of trust.

"Members remain extremely angry with the actions of the officer board," one executive source told the Herald.

The GRA will also decide on the process whereby members are balloted on the proposals set out by the Labour Court. Such a process will take at least a fortnight, sources said. The GRA has therefore called off further days of planned action for later this month. This comes as Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday admitted that the Government does not yet know how it will fund a garda pay package worth €45m.

The 10,500 members of the GRA are due to ballot on the proposal between next Monday and November 28.

The deal is worth roughly €3,600 per garda, and up to €4,150 for those with longer-service, according to GRA figures.

Mr Varadkar said that if gardai accepted the proposal set out in a Labour Court recommendation, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald would then "engage on how the money can be found".

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors last night deferred all strikes planned for this month to allow a ballot of its members.

President Antoinette Cunningham said a meeting of its National Executive discussed the impact of the Labour Court recommendation to resolve the dispute on the pay of the association's 2,080 members.

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