Gardaí want ties between police and politics severed

Rank and file Gardaí are calling for a severing of the ties between policing and politics to eliminate direct political interference.

The annual conference of the Garda Representative Association in Co Kerry will also again call for the establishment of an independent policing authority.

For the second year in a row - the Justice Minister Alan Shatter has not been invited to address the conference.

160 delegates will gather in Killarney today, ahead of the start tomorrow morning of the annual conference of the GRA, which represents around 10,500 frontline Gardaí.

The two-day meeting comes as the force deals with a number controversies.

The GRA says a line needs to be drawn underneath what has gone before with a fundamental renewal and reform of the force.

The association wants a move away from what it describes as "outmoded management practices" and a newly restructured selection and promotion process, because it claims often the most natural leaders are overlooked in favour of those who have social or family connections to the political class.

Other issues for debate include pay, discipline and the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

The Justice Minister, who declined an invitation to speak at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors conference earlier this month due to other commitments, has not been invited to address the GRA delegates for the second year running.

However, the interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan will address the conference tomorrow.

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