Gardaí to march on Dáil

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) is to hold a protest rally in Dublin next Wednesday, February 25, 2009.

They will be assembling at Parnell Square at 1.30pm and marching to Dáil Eireann.

"The Government’s proposal to introduce another levy on earnings is causing extreme concern to the GRA and its membership," said a GRA statement.

"This protest is significant in that a new generation of gardaí will be protesting against Government plans. Many of these gardaí were in school during the pay protest of 1998. It is among this new generation that the proposed levy will have the most effect.

"Gardaí also have restrictions placed on their lives unlike any other worker in the State. They are denied rights of industrial action and are not allowed to be members of any political group. Above all, they are denied trade union status and the right to be balloted on industrial action.

"The Central Executive Committee marched with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) in solidarity and support on Saturday, February 21, 2009."

The GRA is also demanding the right to ballot its members on industrial action.

GRA general secretary PJ Stone said: "Where is the Government response to our proposals?

"We asked Government to consider legislation to write down mortgages by 20%. We also asked the Government to consider legislation that would allow people on fixed rate mortgages to be allowed to switch to variable rates without penalty. Their silence is deafening.

"It was determined that gardaí were not entitled to pay increases under the benchmarking awards because of pensions and the GRA reluctantly accepted this position. To have a further imposition on our wages is simply and totally unfair, unacceptable and must be resisted.

"Off-duty members are being asked to demonstrate support for this action; including student gardaí and probationer gardaí. The Garda Representative Association estimates that around 3,000 members will be on their rest day on Wednesday and are being called on to demonstrate their support against the introduction of the so-called ‘pension levy’."

No member on duty will participate in this protest, the association said.

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