Tipp GRA rep says Minister’s decision is a slap in the face

Photo © Pat Flynn

The Justice Minister says she won’t be attending the Garda Representative Association’s annual conference because of the body’s refusal to invite the Garda Commissioner.

The GRA revealed it would not being inviting Commissioner Drew Harris earlier this year, saying trust had broken down.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee wrote to the GRA to say she wouldn’t be attending the conference.

She says she has asked the GRA to reconsider its decision.

“I’ve met with them only recently and we had a very productive meeting working through the issues that I have responsibility for and where I can support them and work with them on the ground. But it is important that the government that appoints the Garda Commissioner – that the office of the Commissioner is not undermined and it is the case by not inviting him that that is what’s happening here.”

However Tipperary GRA rep Richie Kennedy says her decision is a missed opportunity for the Minister as well as a slap in the face for rank and file Gardaí.

“The Minister was issued this invite six months ago and has kind of left it to the eleventh hour before declining the invitation. The conference is attended by Garda members from every single District in the country. So it’s a real spread of members from all over the country. She’s met with our officer board previously but this would be a lot of lads that are at the coalface and she would have had a good chance to hear the views and the issues from the lads on the ground.”