Over 11,000 rank and file gardaí today began a work-to-rule in protest over the Government's pay cuts and pension levy.

Members of the Garda Representative Association will no longer use personal equipment, such as laptops and mobile phones, in the course of their duty.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said the gardaí have a 'proud tradition' and he does not expect there to be any deterioration in the quality of the police service.

Gardaí called the move ‘a withdrawal of goodwill’, but it is in effect a work-to-rule, the first of its kind in the history of An Garda Síochána.

Gardaí stopped using personal electronic equipment and will not take calls about work at home.

They will however continue to use their own cars for duty - gardaí are paid a mileage allowance for this.

The GRA says its members had informed their superior officers in writing of their action, which is the first stage in a graduated response to the Government's pension levy and pay cuts.