Refusal to allow Gardaí and Defence Forces to negotiate pay or strike is breach of European Social Charter


“This report should be a wake-up call, in particular to Fianna Fáil and the Green Party,” Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly said.

THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE of Social Rights (ECSR) has criticised the government for not allowing An Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces to take part in industrial action for pay and work conditions.

The Council of Europe committee released a report today called Findings 2020, listing breaches of the European Social Charter by its signatories, of which Ireland is one. 

In its findings in relation to Ireland, the Committee concluded that preventing Garda representative groups from joining national organisations was a violation of Article 5 of the Charter, and was having “the factual effect of depriving them to negotiate on pay, pensions and service conditions represented by national organisations”. 

The Committee also found that there was a violation of Article 6.2 of the Charter on
the ground that Garda representative associations were “not provided with a means
to effectively represent their members in all matters concerning their material and
moral interests”; and a violation of Article 6.4 on the ground that Ireland’s legislation amounted to “a complete abolition of the right to strike as far as the police is concerned”.

It found the same violations of Article 5 and 6.2 in relation to the Defence Forces representative organisations. 

In the 18th National Report on the implementation of the European Social Charter, submitted by the Irish Government, it stated that “the Garda representative bodies continue to have full and equal access to national public service pay negotiations”.

It also stated that new internal Garda dispute resolution mechanisms have been

Sinn Féin spokesperson on workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly said that this isn’t the first time this finding had been made.

“In this latest report, the Social Rights Committee has made many of the same findings against the Irish government as it has in previous years.

“Indeed, despite promises from successive governments to addressed these issues, we are back to square one with the committee finding that the refusal to allow An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces the right to fully participate in negotiations regarding their pay and service, and the denial of a right to strike, is in breach of the European Social Charter.

The committee has called on the government to implement the measures needed to remedy the situation, and it has made specific reference for this to be done in relation to the measures taken to address the abolition of the right to strike.

“This report should be a wake-up call, in particular to Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

“These parties need to ask themselves if they will continue to implement Fine Gael policies which deny An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces the right to be represented and collectively negotiate pay deals, or if they will stand up for the workers’ rights of Gardaí and the Defence Force members.”

#Open journalism

No news is bad news
Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue
to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

The Committee’s other findings: housing

The Committee also found the Government were violating Article 16 of the Charter on grounds of providing insufficient accommodation for Travellers, and evictions were carried out without safeguards.

It also found another violation of Article 16 in relation to the poor quality of housing made available to local-authority tenants, citing “persistent conditions like sewage invasions, contaminated water, dampness and mould went ‘to the core of what adequate housing means’.”

Despite a large number of people remained in substandard housing conditions, no complete statistics on the condition of local authority housing have been collected since 2002 by the Irish authorities. No national timetable existed for the refurbishment of local authority housing stock.

“For these reasons, the Committee found that the Government had failed to take sufficient and timely measures to ensure the right to housing of an adequate standard for not an insignificant number of families living in local authority housing, and therefore Ireland had violated Article 16.”

Passing Out Ceremony, Garda College Templemore 2018.

Passing Out Ceremony, Garda College Templemore 2018.


Leave A Reply