Pay conditions, an unarmed force and the restoration and reward for gardai are among the key issues of concern for the Garda Representative Association who meet in Killarney this evening.
Over 10,000 gardai are represented by the GRA and its president, Dermot O’ Brien said members are angry and disillusioned and feel betrayed by both the government and the force.
Garda members have already taken a 25% pay cut since 2009 and the fact that they remain an unarmed force makes them the envy of other police forces.
Mr. O’ Brien said a perfect storm is gathering for gardaí and other members of the public service who feel it is time to “restore and reward”.
When asked about the gardai remaining as an unarmed police force he said society is getting more dangerous and as a result there is a need to arm gardaí with an “intermediate form of force”, such as a stun gun. Previous governments and garda commissioners have consistently refused to countenance any change in the unarmed status of gardaí.
Two gardaí, Adrian Donohoe and Tony Golden, have been shot dead in Co Louth in the past three years. Gardaí in border counties are calling on the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner to immediately address what they say is the chronic lack of 24-hour armed cover and frontline operational gardaí nationwide.
Gardaí in Dublin are seeking a pay allowance based on the cost of living in the city and, along with gardaí in Kildare, want those who have joined the force in the past three years to have equal pay and allowances with their older colleagues.