The deployment of a team of gardaí to the Middle East as part of the Government's Refugee Protection Programme has been cancelled following a disagreement on overtime payments.

Eight gardaí and two sergeants were due to fly out to Jordan last Friday for 13 days to interview up to 300 refugees and asylum seekers before they could come to Ireland.

However, they decided not to travel after they were told they would not be paid overtime for working their days off.

The Garda Representative Association has accused Garda management of a breach of working time and public service agreements and has called on the Minister for Justice to intervene.

Over 2,000 people have been relocated or resettled in Ireland as part of the programme in the last four years.

The Government committed in September 2015 to accepting 4,000 people into the state through the EU relocation and the UNHCR-led resettlement programmes.

It established the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, and so far more than 2,500 people from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan have been relocated or resettled here.

A selection mission to Jordan is currently taking place during which almost 300 refugees are to be interviewed for the purpose of determining their suitability to be resettled in Ireland later this year.

A team from the Department of Justice is currently in Jordan to carry out initial assessments.

They were due to be joined by the team of gardaí to interview and undertake security assessments of candidates prior to them being formally accepted for resettlement to Ireland.

The gardaí were due to spend 13 days in Jordan and work four of their rest days but instead of being paid overtime, the Garda Commissioner offered them TOIL - or time off in lieu - an offer they declined.

Thousands of euros spent on flights and accommodation for the gardaí has been lost.

The Garda Representative Association has accused garda management of unilaterally breaching the terms of both the garda working time agreement and public service norms.

Deputy General Secretary Philip McAnenly pointed out that garda teams have been deployed on two other occasions to the Middle East this year as part of the programme and overtime was paid to those gardaí for work on rest days.

The Association has called on the Minister to intervene and ensure the appropriate rates and agreements are observed.

Gardaí volunteer for deployment as part of the teams and it is not yet clear how the decision to replace overtime payments with TOIL will affect the garda staffing of the mission.

In a statement this evening, Garda Headquarters said An Garda Síochána remains fully committed to its obligations under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme and says it continues to work with its partners to fulfill its obligations.

The Department of Justice says garda deployment is a matter for garda management.

However it insists neither the mission nor the EU funding for the programme have been put in jeopardy.

"The mission has not been put in jeopardy. The IRPP is using the mission to interview families potentially seeking to come to Ireland as refugees to assess their overall suitability to be accepted as refugees in Ireland," said a spokesperson for the department.

"There are many aspects to this process which can be completed without requiring Garda presence.

"EU Funding is available for refugees when they are resettled to Ireland. This funding is not in jeopardy as the selection mission is underway and ongoing. The funding window is open until 31 October.

"The deployment of members of An Garda Siochana is a matter for Garda management."