Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said there is "still time to pull back" from a strike by gardaí due to go ahead on Friday.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One, he said he hopes the offer on the table will be considered very carefully by the Garda Representative Association and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors.

He said that in the context of the Labour Court being completely independent, when the parties return there tonight they will renew talks and he hopes they will bring the dispute to a conclusion where there will not be a strike on Friday.

Mr Kenny said strike action would be very difficult for the force. He said the motto of the gardaí is to work within communities and to protect the public and nobody wanted a situation where 12,500 members withdraw their service on Friday.

Mr Kenny said the gardaí have always done an exceptional job, above and beyond the call of duty.

He said 208,000 public servants had signed up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement and the Government does not have the money to deal with all of the claims, but progress is being made.

Earlier Mr Kenny said he has asked the Attorney General and the Minister for Justice to bring forward a legislative measure to allow the garda representative bodies use the machinery of the State on a permanent basis in respect of public service pay.

During Leaders' Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, there was criticism from Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Labour Party over the Government's handling of the garda pay dispute.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin criticised the Government over what he called the belated nature of efforts by Government to stop Friday's strike from going ahead.

Enda Kenny said the issue was of the utmost seriousness but he said it had to be resolved within the constraints of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The Lansdowne Road Agreement was negotiated to reverse pay and pension cuts for public service workers imposed since 2008. It extends the Haddington Road Agreement until 2018.

Mr Kenny recalled that when public pay and conditions were dealt with in the past, gardaí always felt they were "outside the room", as he put it.

He confirmed that he asked Attorney General Máire Whelan and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald yesterday to move as quickly as possible in bringing forward the heads of the legislation, in order to make the machinery of the State available to gardaí on a permanent basis.

Mr Kenny said he hoped that in the interest of the country that Friday's strike could be avoided and while there are contingency plans in place, he noted the seriousness of the potential withdrawal of 12,500 personnel in one day.

He described the threat of strike action as a matter of grave seriousness, but said there is time for it to be "put off".

Officials from the Garda Representative Association are at the Labour Court today, while the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors will attend the court tomorrow morning.

Mr Martin said many people are quite fearful of what might ensue should the strike go ahead.

Labour's Sean Sherlock asked the Taoiseach to put some more information into the public domain to allay the fears of the public if strike action goes ahead on Friday.

Mr Kenny said superintendents will contact sergeants and inspectors individually to know the numbers available to them. He also said probationary gardaí and recruits will be available where appropriate.

He told the Dáil that emergency response unit and armed regional response units will operate as normal. 

The Taoiseach said the National Surveillance Unit and the Garda Technical Bureau are also at the heart of any response where there is a threat to the State.

Mr Kenny said Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan is also prioritising the armed response unit to ensure safety in communities and he said there will be presence at airports and ports. He said that 999 calls will operate as normal.

In relation to the Defence Forces taking on duties or the work of the gardaí, Mr Kenny said that there was no question of this. 

He said: "They are only an aid to civil powers."

Public calls for assistance will be responded to - Assistant Garda Commissioner

The Assistant Garda Commissioner, Jack Nolan, has given a guarantee that calls for assistance from the public will be responded to, in the event of a garda strike.

Speaking at a Joint Oireachtas Committee meeting, Mr Nolan said: "What I can guarantee you is that there will be gardaí on the streets. There will be garda members working on the 4th of November. And that calls for assistance will be responded to. There may have to be a priority with regard to some of them, but they will be responded to."

He was responding to a question from Sinn Féin's Peadar Toibin who asked what contingency measures were being put in place for a possible strike.

Mr Nolan said: "Significant and detailed planning is ongoing, and has been ongoing, in preparing for what would be a reduced garda service, albeit it may be a significantly reduced garda service."

He said he would prefer not to comment on the ongoing negotiations to have the strike lifted, remarking it was a "very delicate situation."

Asked about the number of gardaí who may be available in the event of any strike, Mr Nolan said it was "a matter of negotiation."

He added: "There are about 450 student gardaí in the garda college who would be available. And there are about 400 probationary gardaí in the organisation, again, who will be available for duty. There are approximately 220 senior officers - from superintendents, chief superintendents and commissioners - also available."