These are difficult times for members of An Garda Siochána and other public servants who have taken pay cuts. I acknowledge that this is also a difficult time to be in the leadership of a staff association.

Thousands of people have lost their jobs because of the economic crisis. Because of this, we have had to put in place measures to secure the national finances and deliver recovery. As part of these measures the membership of An Garda Siochána have taken pay reductions, which are, pro rata, the same as other public employees.  

Largely as a result of these measures, international confidence has been restored and this is assisting the country on the road to recovery.

Against the backdrop of this national effort, I was extremely disappointed and dismayed to have read the circulated remarks of the President of the Garda Representative Association due to be delivered at the GRA Conference this afternoon.

These amount to an unprecedented political intervention by a Garda representative and have no place in a modern democracy. They besmirch the long-held excellent reputation that An Garda Siochána has earned for serving the people and institutions of this State without fear or favour. No democrat could tolerate such political interventions by any member of a police force.

I refute utterly the allegations made in the speech. I am confident that they would not be endorsed by the vast majority of rank and file Gardaí. The Force is ill-served by such political interventions.

In light of these facts it is impossible for me to attend the GRA Conference.

27 April 2010