AGSI conference to get underway this morning in Kerry

Middle ranking Gardaí will discuss calls for more robust protection for whistleblowers at their annual conference in Co Kerry.

The three day meeting of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors comes as the force deals with a number of controversies.

The Justice Minister Alan Shatter has turned down an invitation to address the delegates – due to a number of other commitments.

Around 150 delegates will gather in Killarbey today – for the annual conference of the AGSI – which represents over 2,000 Garda sergeants and inspectors.

23 motions will be discussed – including a call to have the Garda confidential reporting charter reviewed and revised – to make it more robust in protecting whistleblowers in the force.

Other issues for debate include pay, pensions and allowances – as well as training and the duties and responsibilities of middle ranking officers.

The conference takes place at a time when the Garda Síochana is embroiled in controversies over the penalty points system and the recording of phone calls in stations.

Last year – the Justice Minister was greeted at the AGSI conference by silence and a walkout by some delegates.

This year – Alan Shatter has declined an invitation to give an address – due to the Jewish Passover and a meeting of EU Defence Ministers in Luxembourg.

However the interim Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan will address the delegates tomorrow.