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Half hour of road policing a PR stunt, says GRA


The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has described as a public relations exercise Garda Commissioner Drew Harris’s announcement that all uniform gardaí will do 30 minutes road policing on duty.

Mr Harris introduced the new initiative earlier this month based on international research and has also promised to increase the number of gardaí in Road Policing Units.

However the GRA said it is creating unnecessary computer work for gardaí who have to gather the statistics.

Rank and file gardaí also said images posted on social media about the protest at Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman’s home last Friday were edited for disinformation.

A total of 64 people have died on the roads so far this year, 13 more than for the same period last year.

Because of the high number of fatalities and the low number of gardaí assigned to dedicated road policing, Mr Harris directed that every uniformed garda carry out 30 minutes of road policing every day.

Garda headquarters has said this was based on international research and a Swedish model of 20 minutes a day which it said contributed to a significant reduction in road deaths there.

The Garda Commissioner has also promised an additional 150 gardaí for road policing over the next two years.

However the GRA has described the initiative as a PR stunt.

James Morrisroe who is stationed in Co Cavan has said it is a waste of time and resources as gardaí now have to log on to a computer even if there were no incidents or detections to report, in what he said was a statistical exercise.

Gardaí who responded to the incident at Mr O’Gorman’s home last Friday have described the mobile phone footage posted online as “disinformation”.

Garda Mark Ferris said the footage was edited to make it look like the gardaí watched the placards and banners being placed on the gates when this was not what happened.

He said they were already there when the gardaí arrived and when they directed the group to remove them, they did.

One said: “We got what we wanted.”

Rank and file gardaí also said frontline gardaí do not have the resources, training or the protective equipment to deal with far-right intimidation and violence.

Tara Mc Manus said if the Dublin riots happened again, gardaí would not be ready.

Recruitment and retention is also a major issue at the GRA conference in Westport, Co Mayo.

Garda headquarters said the resignation rate in An Garda Síochána is 1% compared to an average of 10% in international police services and that 120 extensions of service have been granted by garda management in the last two years.

The Policing Authority’s report based on interviews with gardaí found that “in the main, the general view was not one of concern that An Garda Síochána is facing a retention ‘crisis’ or an ‘exodus’ of good people” and that “frustration rather than low morale would perhaps best describe the sentiments expressed”.

However Garda Nessa Durkan who has been stationed in Co Louth for 26 years and trains young gardaí has said they are leaving because of a lack of resources and equipment, a feeling they are not being supported and a belief that they do not have the autonomy to make decisions.

In response to criticism of the garda discipline system, garda headquarters said that

96 gardaí are currently suspended which is down from 115 at end of 2023.

It also said there have been no suspensions for on-duty activity so far this year and that 14 suspensions were lifted in 2024.


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