Limerick councillors want proper pay and pensions for Gardaí

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Cllr John Sheahan called for better pay and pensions for Gardaí

GARDAÍ should be properly remunerated for putting their lives on the line in the course of carrying out their duty.

That was the message this week from Limerick City and County Council.

Fine Gael councillor John Sheahan tabled a motion at Monday’s meeting calling on the Minister for Justice to carry out an immediate review on the provision of pay and pension entitlements for members of An Garda Síochána.

Cllr Sheahan reminded council members that Garda pensions were cut by 12 per cent during the financial crash in 2009.

“This helped save the economy at the time, and I can’t see any excuse now not to bring back most of it. Something needs to be done about it,” he declared.

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In the same week that former Justice Minister Willie O’Dea opposed Tanaiste Leo Varadkar’s statement that he would not block a move to arm Gardaí if Commissioner Drew Harris were to make the request, Cllr Sheahan took the view that Gardaí need more protection on the beat.

“There is a big debate around Gardaí not being sufficiently armed. Give them something to defend themselves.”

Seconding the motion, Cllr Liam Galvin (FG) pointed out that officers were promised bodycams four years ago and are still waiting on this to be brought forward.

“This was a much sought after job some years ago with a good pension package. Now they are struggling to get 40 recruits in Templemore when they are looking to take on 200,” Cllr Galvin commented.

“This is a timely motion and should be supported.”

Cllr Tom Ruddle (FG) said the violent scenes in Newcastle West on Halloween were indicative of the lack of Gardaí available.

“The number of Gardaí is much reduced and the population has increased. Bodycams are a must and pay and conditions are a big issue, it isn’t attracting people into the Gardaí,” Cllr Ruddle opined.

“Nobody wants to be a guard anymore. Make it more attractive if you want to attract anyone.”

Cllr Adam Teskey (FG), chairman of the Joint Policing Committee, said that rank and file officers were running out of their jobs as morale is now at an all-time low.

“It should not be a police force but a police service. People pelt them with stones and mock them. It is a disgrace where we are at.”

Independent councillor Eddie Ryan felt Gardaí as well as doctors, nurses, and care attendants should all be remunerated properly.

Cllr Kevin Sheahan (FF) was of the opinion that management of An Garda Síochána have a lot to answer for.

“They need to get their act together.”