GRA ‘not ruling out’ any action amid deteriorating relations with Commissioner

Garda Representative Association general-secretary Ronan Slevin, left, and president Brendan O’Connor (Cillian Sherlock/PA)
Garda Representative Association general-secretary Ronan Slevin, left, and president Brendan O’Connor (Cillian Sherlock/PA)

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has said it has not ruled out any action in response to a deteriorating relationship with Commissioner Drew Harris.

The organisation for rank-and-file members of An Garda Siochana said it does not see a way forward in its ongoing dispute with the Commissioner over rosters.

The escalation of rhetoric comes after almost 99% of gardai who voted in a ballot organised by the GRA expressed no confidence in the Commissioner two weeks ago.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris’ plans have caused discontent among gardai (Brian Lawless/PA)

The unprecedented vote stemmed from discontent within the force, mostly around the Commissioner’s plan to return to a pre-pandemic roster from November 6.

Speaking to the media ahead of the GRA’s special delegates conference in Co Kilkenny on Wednesday, the organisation’s president Brendan O’Connor said he had “even less confidence” in the commissioner following a meeting with Mr Harris on Tuesday.

GRA general-secretary Ronan Slevin said: “We had a vote of no confidence in the commissioner two weeks ago and 99% of our members balloted decided they didn’t have confidence in the commissioner.

“We allowed two weeks for progress to be made in relation to the issue of the November 6 deadline, which we asked the commissioner to remove, which would allow us to go into discussions and finding a solution to the issue of rosters alone.

“As of yesterday, that didn’t happen so as it stands at the moment we don’t see a way forward until that deadline has been addressed.”

Asked about whether rank-and-file members would work to rule, refuse to take up overtime or refuse to use their personal phones, Mr Slevin said all options remain on the table.

Mr Slevin said: “The commissioner made it very clear yesterday that the rosters will be imposed on November 6, in his view, and he did not give us any cause for any hope that anything different would come from that. It appears that the commissioner is adamant that his position will not change.

“We are very reasonable, we have been working hard behind the scenes discussing possible solutions to the impasse that is there at the moment.

“We believed that we have reached a point where we could progress matters but as of the decision of the commissioner yesterday, all that was futile.”

Mr Slevin said the delegates conference would discuss the issue.

“We will have a discussion with our delegates, I won’t pre-empt their decisions, I leave that totally to themselves. Absolutely everything is on the table, I am not discounting everything. I am not ruling out anything.”