Shatter accused of not engaging with gardaí

Monday 28 April 2014 22.02
The three-day GRA conference began in Killarney today
The three-day GRA conference began in Killarney today

The association representing rank and file gardaí has accused the Minister for Justice of not engaging with gardaí.

Speaking at the Garda Representative Association’s annual conference in Killarney, its president John Parker also called for the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission to be more accountable

The GRA said the work of a Garda is becoming more dangerous, yet ongoing controversies are continuing to damage the morale of members on the frontline.

It said that in the last month a bomb has been left outside one Garda's home, while another on a motorbike was knocked down and seriously injured.

The association said the problem of attacks on gardai is twice as bad as previously thought.

A new recording system, which was introduced last year, shows that the number of recorded assaults has doubled.

The GRA also said it fully supports interim Garda Commission Noirin O'Sullivan.

Mr Parker defended the decision not to invite Alan Shatter to its conference because rank and file gardaí say he does not engage with them.

He also said that there should be an independent authority to oversee GSOC and that misinformed comment by all politicians has gone from a snowball to an avalanche.

The GRA said the force has been rocked by the recent allegations of wrongdoing.

It said gardaí who have pointed out failings have consistently been ignored.

Speaking ahead of the conference, GRA General Secretary PJ Stone called for a "root and branch" review of the force to separate policing from politics.

Mr Stone said measures must now be introduced to facilitate a police force freed from what he calls "the shackles of direct political interference".

Gardaí are demanding that GSOC bears the cost of any investigation they conduct on its behalf.

Members are also seeking the introduction of a charter of fairness between GSOC and the Garda Commissioner.

For the second year in a row, Minister Shatter was not invited to the conference.

Training, equipment and recruitment are also on the agenda for the three-day event.

Gardaí are seeking rigid-style handcuffs and an all-purpose utility vest, a revision of garda districts and divisions to reflect policing needs, and a Government plan for regular garda recruitment.

Keywords: gardai, gra