Ireland: Police win the right to strike following an EU ruling

In May, following a Council of Europe decision, the representative bodies of the Irish police force (the Garda Síochána or simply the Garda) won the right to strike, negotiate on pay and conditions, and affiliate to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Prior to this, these bodies – the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) – were restricted from engaging in such activities.

EuroCOP president Anna Nellberg Dennis said the decision was not only a victory for the Garda, but would have important implications for forces across Europe, by drawing more attention to those Member States that are failing to adequately provide for the social rights of their police officers.

The Irish government response was issued in June and stated: ‘It is critically important that the police and security services in the State are fully operational at all times and it must be emphasised that providing a right to strike to members of the Garda Síochána across the country would raise the most serious issues in respect of the capacity of the State to ensure the maintenance of law and order.’

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