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Garda chief warns he will be watching for Paddy's Day dodgers

A GARDA superintendent in Dublin has issued a directive to gardai in his station that they will be disciplined if they "go sick" on St Patrick's Day.

THE directive comes because of fears that some gardai may engage in a 'blue flu' protest this weekend over cutbacks and wage cuts.

A rank-and-file officer told the Herald: "Members are slightly flabbergasted by this directive – what if a garda breaks his leg while playing a football match at the weekend. If he does – is he still expected to show up for duty the next day?"

The Herald understands that the directive issued in the north Co Dublin station has not been issued at other stations nationwide.

"The directive seems a bit of a solo run," a source said.

Last weekend, garda management said St Patrick's Day is an "exceptional event", requiring a garda to work the day if they are asked.

Sergeants

This was in response to the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors putting a note on its website telling members that they cannot be compelled to work St Patrick's Day's if they are not rostered on.

Garda management then held a meeting with the AGSI and said the message could be in contravention of the Garda Siochana Act and they could be guilty of an offence.

The text was then removed from the AGSI's website.

There are also some fears that other emergency workers may fight back against cuts to their pay and conditions by failing to work on March 17.

The development comes as it emerged yesterday that the garda inspectorate warned that inexperienced gardai are working in many areas without proper supervision.

The inspectorate said more sergeants should be released from office work and put back on the beat.

kfoy@herald.ie


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