Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has supported calls by the Association of Garda Sergeants & Inspectors for the Minister for Justice Simon Harris to intervene in the ongoing roster talks.
His comments come as AGSI staged a day of action today which saw over 100 members from across the country march to Garda Headquarters in Phoenix Park, in a bid for a fair roster.
Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said:
“It is clear that the Gardaí are at crisis point after a decade of poor governance by Fine Gael in the Justice Department. The fact that Gardaí feel they have no other option but to engage in a public march exposes the severity of the crisis facing members of all ranks right across the state.
“Over the past year, I have asked both the Minister and the Taoiseach to intervene in the roster dispute. So far, they have failed to do so and Gardaí feel that political leadership on this crisis is clearly lacking.
“Gardaí of all ranks on the ground tell me that they feel badly let down. They sacrificed their previous working agreements during the pandemic in order to ensure each community had the support they required – with the agreement that their previous roster would be reinstated once the emergency had passed.
“They are now in a situation where they are forced to do more with less resources due to the skyrocketing number of resignations, particularly in the Dublin area. They worry that this leaves them overstretched, beyond a point where it is safe for them and the communities they are trying to protect.
“There is a clear and growing crisis in Garda retention, which undermines already overstretched staff numbers. One remedy to this would be a return to a roster which would offer the work life balance that many members of the Gardaí want and deserve.
“The Justice Minister and the Taoiseach cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand. It is time for political leadership and a desire to get to grips with this issue to deliver the change needed.
“I support the AGSI in their calls to the Minister to intervene. We must not see a further extension to the current ‘contingency’ roster again in the Autumn.
“This is a clear failure of government policing policy.
“After more than a decade with responsibility for the Justice Department, all Fine Gael have delivered is a policing service which is seeing record numbers of resignations amid deepening levels of low morale. Communities deserve to feel safe and protected. They need to know that when they need help from the Gardaí it will be available. Sinn Féin in government would stand up for communities and ensure that they get the policing service they deserve.”