Ireland

Justice minister urges resolution in standoff over Garda roster system

Justice minister Helen McEntee has intervened in a row between Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and representative organisations (Brian Lawless/PA)
Justice minister Helen McEntee has intervened in a row between Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and representative organisations (Brian Lawless/PA) Justice minister Helen McEntee has intervened in a row between Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and representative organisations (Brian Lawless/PA)

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has urged that a solution is found in a dispute between the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and representative organisations amid escalating industrial action.

Meetings are taking place between Mr Harris and those organisations this week in the standoff over the roster system.

Members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) have threatened to withdraw their labour if the dispute is not resolved.

This would include declining to work voluntary overtime on the five Tuesdays in October, which will encompass Budget day on October 10 as well as Halloween.

The GRA has also vowed to continue to operate the current roster system of four days on, four days off when the old system is due to come back into effect on November 6.

If the stalemate remains, GRA members have indicated they will fully withdraw their labour on November 10.

Mr Harris wants to move to a roster based on gardai working six days on, with shorter shift times, and four days off.

Speaking to media in Dublin on Monday, Ms McEntee said she has been assured by the Commissioner over gardai numbers.

“What’s really clear here is that everybody has the same objective … and everybody is still meeting this week,” she said.

“Despite the fact that there will be challenges in the weeks ahead, the Garda Commissioner has assured me that there will still be a full complement of gardai, there will be enough members to continue doing the work that they do every day whether it is tomorrow, or the following Tuesday.

“But there is time here to negotiate, to double down, to try and find the solution, and that is a new roster, and I’m encouraging everybody because the alternative here is that I would as minister intervene and direct what roster should be in place.

“We have moved away from that type of policing. We should never be in a situation where the minister of the day is telling gardai where and when and how they should be working.”