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Justice Minister: 'We need a new garda roster to respond to challenges'

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Helen McEntee has said a new garda roster is necessary in order to effectively tackle crime as a dispute rages on between garda associations and senior management.

Rank-and-file gardaí have threatened to stage industrial action on specific days in October and November if their concerns about a proposed new roster are not addressed. Members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion of no confidence in Commissioner Drew Harris over the months-long dispute. 

The Justice Minister has said she has confidence in Harris but that “everyone agrees” a fresh roster plan is necessary.

Speaking on Newstalk’s On The Record programme this morning, McEntee said that “everybody wants to negotiate a new roster”.

“Everybody wants to find a way forward. Everybody wants a roster that’s fit for the world that we live in, that provides the best service possible but that also allows for work life balance that responds to the needs of the members themselves,” she said.

That’s where we need to get to and this is the impasse we’re at.

“This is why discussions need to intensify. This is why we need all of the associations around the table,” the minister said.

“At the moment, you have three very clearly saying that they will engage in intensified discussions and what I’m asking very clearly is that the GRA would get around the table and be part of those discussions.

“The one thing that everybody is in agreement on is that we need a new roster – not the current Covid roster, not the previous roster, but that we need a new roster to be able to respond to the challenges of today.”

The minister also addressed the sharing of footage online that shows the killing of a woman in Co Offaly this week. 

“This is an unimaginable tragedy and I want to offer my condolences to everyone involved, to the family involved,” she said.

I have to remind people that to share these types of images is a crime… to think that people would share this, it’s hard to understand.

“This is a horrific crime that has happened to somebody and I’d ask them to rethink if they come into the possession of this material, that they do not share it, that they do not send it on to anybody, because this in itself further causes harm and and trauma to those that are involved in this case.”