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Garda Ballot on Industrial Action

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | news report author Monday December 07, 2009 21:41author by James McB WSM personal capacity Report this post to the editors

Action illegal under 2005 Garda Act

The Garda Representative Association today announced a ballot of their members for possible industrial action.

Todays' announcement of possible industrial action by the Gardai is in the words of Demot Ahern Minister for Justice, "A direct challenge to the authority of the state." This is the kind of language usually reserved for Shell to Sea, anti -war or other protesters who go beyond passive protest and engage in direct action.

The GRA are pushing the boundaries of what action they may take, even the calling of a ballot is in flagrant breach of the 2005 Garda Act. It is clear that the radicalisation of younger members of the Gardai is significant and that the pressure from these members is driving the leadership into this unprecedented action. Of course its' all down to economics as wages diminish these Gardai are finding it hard to get by and pay their mortgages. If they don't fightback now they realise that there will be further cuts and that their situation can only worsen.

The government is in a serious dilema , if they tolerate this it will send a signal to every worker in the country that even the Gardai are prepared to challenge the state through industrial action (illegal industrial action) and so should everyone. If on the other hand they take legal moves against the Gardai or the GRA they risk inflaming an already serious situation and if they won the complete demoralisation of the force. The only option is to begin negotiations. But if they concede anthing then everyone else will want the same.

Not withstanding the extremely reactionary history of the Gardai and their ongoing role in crushing dissent and protecting capitalism, this is extremely good news for the working class. First it shows that the anger felt by workers is universal regardless of the role in the state apparatus , secondly it means the Gardai are now less reliable to the government which will undermine their confidence in fighting the current workers anger and most importantly it yet again exposes the weak kneed approach of ICTU and will help those within the unions arguing for more radical action.

author by jayopublication date Mon Dec 07, 2009 22:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

what about workers rights, they should have the right to strike like any other trade union, can't believe that the author is sidingf with a government that is trying to erode the rights of workers and cut pay and conditions, think this is more about the authors dislike of gardai and not the real issue,

author by Bazpublication date Mon Dec 07, 2009 23:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jayo I think you need to go back and read the article again. Where in it is the author siding with the government and many of us have reasons to distrust the cops. Have you ever been on a demo? Hopefully they will allow us to voice our anger on Wed outside Leinster House

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Tue Dec 08, 2009 00:25author email libertypics at yahoo dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

This action (if it happens) by the Garda, while welcome, will more than likely become a blip.

I remember during one of the garda reps speechs at the last action, the blue flu, even James Larkin got a mention, but the grin on his face looked more like sarcasm than anything else.

I haven't heard them mention Larkin (or Connolly for that matter) since.

Photo essays etc on workers rights etc @

 Pic © Michael Gallagher 2007
Pic © Michael Gallagher 2007

author by Worker in uniformpublication date Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's an interesting precedent for this garda militancy in 1961, which resulted in the sacking of 11 guards. This was the 'Macushla mutiny', named for the Dublin ballroom where a critical meeting of disgruntled young guards took place.
As they arrived for that meeting, inspectors tried to identify the participants, and 160 of those identified were subsequently disciplined. Dublin guards operated a 'work to rule' in protest, ignoring lesser breaches of the law. Ultimately, the garda grievances were addressed by the state, but before that, the sacked guards were reinstated on foot of a public outcry (and the intercession of Archbishop McQuaid)

Scene of a garda mutiny
Scene of a garda mutiny

Related Link:
author by inspector gadgetpublication date Tue Dec 08, 2009 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The guards changed their uniform by industrial action too. The Dublin gardaí used to have to wear British bobby style helmets which were unpopular with the rank and file, as well as having an air of "colonial police" about them. The guards rebelled and some got their uniforms altered to have an open collar which they wore with a tie, instead of the old stand and fall collar, and wore peaked caps borrowed from rural divisions.

The Minister for Justice intervened after some gardaí were suspended from duty, and the uniform was re-designed.

Pity they couldn't be so open minded about turbans a few years ago.

author by him againpublication date Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pity some of their brains and attitudes towards inncent people couldn't be changed, to mention just one change. See below

DPP sent report over Wheelock custody death

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