Over 1,100 gardaí not available as force hit with Covid surge

ireland
Over 1,100 Gardaí Not Available As Force Hit With Covid Surge Over 1,100 Gardaí Not Available As Force Hit With Covid Surge
The Garda Press Office has confirmed that “in line with the trend among the general population, the current impact of Covid-19 is more significant at this time.”
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Digital Desk Staff

Gardaí are being provided with antigen tests for use before starting their tour of duty as part of efforts to protect against the impact of the Omicron variant.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the move comes as the Garda Representative Association says there are 1,100 fewer gardaí available to work than just two weeks ago.

While the tests are provided free of charge, their use is voluntary and it is not a requirement to carry one out.

The Garda Press Office has confirmed that “in line with the trend among the general population, the current impact of Covid-19 is more significant at this time.”

An Garda Síochána has commenced to issue antigen tests to allow staff across the organisation to voluntarily risk-assess their personal health status to protect themselves, their families, and resilience within An Garda Síochána against the impact of the Omicron variant.”

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It is believed that the kits will be provided for each working day to allow them to carry out the test immediately prior to going into work.

It is understood that a number of divisions have also been advised to not use kitchen or canteen facilities, in an effort to prevent congregating, and in some instances this will mean that gardaí will have to eat in patrol cars.

Other advice is to always wear masks in all locations where social distancing cannot be maintained, including patrol cars.

The GRA interim general secretary Philip McAnenly said that while the association welcomed the “sudden availability of these antigen tests, it feels like we are slamming the door after the horse has already bolted”.

He said that early last year, the GRA called “for priority vaccinations for our frontline members in both their interests and for the safety of the public, but we were refused.”

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