The Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has expressed his disappointment that once again, the Taoiseach has refused to recognise that the gardaí are not just another section of the public service, but that they face specific challenges and dangers in the course of their work.
Deputy Martin questioned the Taoiseach in the Dáil today at Leaders’ Questions about the escalating crisis in the garda force, describing the government’s treatment of the gardaí as ‘shameful’.
“It seems that the government is determined to destroy garda morale and to add insult to injury Minister Shatter is accusing one of their representative groups, the AGSI, of doing a “disservice” to the force,” Deputy Martin said. “What planet is Minister Shatter on? Instead of trying to work with gardaí to deliver the best possible service, the government has repeatedly undermined and attacked their status. It would be far better if the Minister got rid of his dismissive attitude and engaged with the garda representative bodies who are articulating genuine concerns.
“Changes to the pay of those in frontline services and An Garda Síochána are disproportionate. Their job is fundamentally different because they put themselves in harm’s way on behalf of society and our citizens. They risk their lives on behalf of our citizens. Every time the Taoiseach says that a desk job or a clerical job is the same as that of a garda, he does a disservice to gardaí. He shows a fundamental lack of respect for what they do. Their job is different from those of most other public servants. No one else is out chasing subversives across the country at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. with their lives at risk, or chasing armed criminal gangs who show absolutely no respect for human life. We know that and have seen it demonstrated.”
Deputy Martin made a direct appeal to the Taoiseach to show some leadership and intervene in the escalating crisis in the garda force. In response, the Taoiseach simply defended his government’s treatment of the gardaí and refused to accept that An Garda Síochána cannot be treated like another section of the civil service.