During the previous blue flu Sergeants and higher ranks did not take part in the withdrawal of labour as the GRA do not represent them. They are represented by AGSI. These higher ranks manned the stations during the blue flu.
These guys hold the balance of power in this struggle. If they man the stations any action by regular Gardai is pointless and will ultimately fail.
Another aspect of this is of a more politicized Police force…conflict of interest, a danger to democracy? In New York the transport workers aren`t even allowed protest. Gardai join knowing they do not have this option. Your thoughts please.
Even more academic:
Back in the early days of the recession some pinsters claimed revolution would come. This is about as close to it as you`ll get. An unlikely scenario where AGSI and the GRA mount prolonged withdrawal of labour. The army would need to man the stations and only if they refused and took the sides of the Gardai would the government be in trouble. Even then, while it would technically be a failure of our democracy as we have it set up, (of which I am critical of for many reasons this is merely academic), it would not necessarily mean a coup.
Oh another thought…Gardai fail in a prolonged standoff with Shatter and subsequent protests by other groups are given lacklustre policing leading to protesters breaching the Dail. A more likely scenario but what would people do once they got in there? I`m too far removed now to guess at how angry some people might be now.
Revolution will only come when enough people begin to believe it cant get any shitter and they have nothing to lose. That bar is set pretty high for a society which has been misruled for centuries more latterly by the church/FF/FG who generally dissuaded the people from standing up for themselves by instilling a deep seated fear in the people that no matter how shit things are, they could get an awful lot shitter if you start acting up!!!
Every time I read these stories, my mind flips to the 10 or 12 years of benchmarking and how Garda wages went through the roof, how this was a cosy, backroom stitch-up with gombeen Ahern, I think of their amazing pensions, and about how many Garda were into property investment solely for the purpose of self-enrichment and how this is likely behind a lot of the anger…and all sympathy drains out of me like water down a plughole.
I am also a little bit non-plussed about how cuts of the size mooted could screw many of them over. Certainly, if a Garda is in a 2-income household where one job has been lost, that could cause mortgage problems for them. I sympathise. But that would be a minority of a minority. For the large majority, their is no reason why modest pay cuts should cause hardship, unless there are excessive debts. And if there are excessive debts, well, that’s too bad. You can’t party during the bubble and then bemoan the hangover. It is not the State’s problem that some small minority of them are over their heads in debt such that a pay cut of a few percentage points tips them over the edge.
So the gardai (like many in the PS) were moaning around benchmarking about not being able to get mortgages for houses, and saying they needed increases to be able to borrow to live in Dublin etc.
Now they are moaning that they can’t afford to take a reduction in those same salaries because of the debts they argued to take on in the first place!
Urgh… it’s just more Anybody But Me rabble rousing… we’ve turned into a nation of sob story merchants!
One of my best friends has a brother a Garda. Back when the reclaim the streets protest turned nasty (and ultimately into a fiasco of heavy handed, indiscriminate, thick policing) he was a Garda in Dublin. His station/area were trialling a new radio system, so they weren’t on the open channels used by the rest of the city, and didn’t hear about the protest until after it was over.
He was gutted that he didn’t get a chance to join in the fun. I found that both very surprising and disappointing. When he found out about the protests, it was clear that they had been very badly handled. Personally, and very pragmatically, if I was a young Garda I would be very pleased not to have had anything to do with that controversy: there was nothing to be gained professionally, and potentially something to be lost by having association with such an event. e.g. it is conceivable that it mightn’t help promotion at some point in the future. Certainly, having your name in articles like this: independent.ie/irish-news/co … 41256.html must pretty much rule you out of certain high-level positions.
More judgementally, it was clear that the Garda action was an over-the-top reaction to non-violent protest. I saw no honour or merit in their behaviour, and would be ashamed to be associated with it. It was also a professional failure. To want to be involved in that says a lot about what he saw as his role, and what he looked for in the job.
And it also brings me a little bit back on topic, since the reclaim the streets protest was less illegal than any protest the Gardai may choose to carry out.
Has it? French Revolution? Eastern Europe in the early 90’s? American revolution?
It may be shit immediatly after (or permanently after if its an African revolution) but the various revolutions have come over the years because large segments of a given society were being exploited/excluded - that can never be a bad thing when this is challenged.
There is an inbuilt fear of upsetting the status quo here as we’ve all been conditioned to believe that we are here but for the grace of god and if we get uppetdy the multinationals will leave and we’ll be eating mouldy potatoes in a shack with nothing more than a dirty pair of curtains to keep you warm - its bullshit.
As a bit of history a case could be made from a timing point of view that it was the Garda blue flu action in 1998 that moved public pay and the economy into bubble territory by anchoring public service pay rise expectations and awards to levels well ahead of inflation. This happened only a few months before the Irish pound was effectively tied to the euro and the government lost its get out-of-jail tool of devaluation.
They ended up then with a 9% pay rise. I remember this followed a large but possibly justified pay rise for nurses, the Gardai wanted more because they’d always been ahead of nurses. The teachers naturally followed the gardai and a destructive round of leapfrogging ended in various forms of behind closed doors benchmarking, the one solution worse than leapfrogging.
Effectively the public service unions at the time could be argued as saying that nurses did not deserve any extra pay relative to other public sector workers due to difficulties of recruiting and retaining nurses.
Interesting. I wonder does this signal a fracture in the civil and public alliance in CP II with everybody now deciding to start going their own way? While the recent death of a Garda has remined us all of the dangers of certain aspects of the job there are other professions, such as nurses, which would attract more public sympathy for this type of action.
Other posters have touched on the non reforming nature of AGS. Is this more a reflection of political inaction and indifference than a desire to reform by ASG? Certainly, in terms of technology we do seem to be behind other forces. I see Martin Donnellan, ex AGS Asst Chief Commissioner remarking recently that there is still no national DNA database. A neighbour was broken into recently but i did not see any finger prints been searched for.
Others have remarked about the nature of policing in terms of demonstrations and protests. I think it should be understood that we now have professional protestors who go from protest to protest, organising and agitating. A number of years ago, I had a media role a large public cerermony where there was due to be protest which was expected to turn violent, and it did. The in joke amongst the journos that day was “I suppose a riot is out of the question.” The reality is that protestors (and journos) know they get more coverage of their protest if it turns violent or there is damage to property or they can engage the Gardai in a violent confrontation.
Would Paul Murphy, MEP (unelected) have been on Morning Ireland the other day had the protest in South Dublin CoCo been peaceful. No, I don’t think so either.