Garda facing €500,000 payout to more than 100 officers in row over Covid-19

By | March 31, 2021

Officers based at Garda College in Templemore want allowances paid for temporary transfers to stations across Ireland during the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 100 gardaí have launched action against their bosses – to demand €500,000 in allowances between them for being sent to help police the Covid-19 pandemic.

Officers based at the Garda College in Templemore in Co Tipperary are taking the force to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

They are taking the action over the force’s alleged failure to give them a special subsistence allowance for their time away from the College when they were sent on an emergency deployment last March – as the Covid-19 crisis hit the country.

The officers were sent to more than a dozen Garda stations on temporary transfer as part of the force’s strategy to have more gardaí on the beat during the lockdown.

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The College, which trains recruits as well as running courses for more experienced officers, was temporarily shut down and all tutors were deployed to the field for the crisis.

Many have now returned to the re-opened College, but others are still on temporary transfer in stations and are playing an active frontline policing role.

But the officers of garda and sergeant rank argue they should be able to claim for food and mileage when they were working in the stations and away from the College, where they are normally based.

Sources told The Irish Daily Mirror, that it was likely each officer would be eligible to claim at least €5,000 in legitimate expenses for the Covid mission – and some could be in line for up to €8,000.

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That means the Garda face a bill of at least €500,000 if the officers win their case, which is not likely to be heard by the Dublin-based WRC for several months.

It’s understood the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) are supporting the officers in their claim.

And sources said they believed the gardaí would probably win their case.

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“They have a very strong case and there is previous precedent for other members on temporary transfer getting the allowances, so it is very likely they will win. And they totally deserve it.”

Garda spokesman declined to comment, adding: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on internal industrial relations.”

Garda College GRA representative Mark O’Meara said many of his members had suffered financial strain over the move.

He said: “Garda College instructors have been working alongside frontline colleagues policing the pandemic for the past year at a financial loss.

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