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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Gardaí, you either love them or struggle to understand them.

The Gardaí, you either love them or struggle to understand them. The latest gripe is pay, 
isn’t it always, except some new recruits who have joined the brave boys in blue lately are threatening to quit over it, but like any good Garda cover up, the skewed facts presented here are just that and all in the guise of a survey. 

Ciaran ó Neill, the Gardaí Representative Association (GRA) vice president asked the new recruits to fill in a survey on pay and conditions. Out of 24,000 applicants to the Garda last year, 685 were recruited plus there are 150 presently in training, and only 15 actually had a gripe, and this is where a few of them had a flair for the dramatic as well when they chorused loudly that they “were recruited into poverty.” Of course these fantasy stories are anonymous to protect the identities again of the gardaí. But why, oh why??

Are we to set aside the equally but very real and anonymous tens of thousands of people out of work who are forced into real poverty, back to work schemes that have no incentives, and no higher wages or education prospects for any of them to escape that cycle of poverty. Sorry, FETAC done not count for much. What planet is Ciaran on?

The starting pay for Garda is more than €23,000 after the first six months holiday, and that does not include expense allowances for boots, uniform, car mileage. Each year thereafter, the pay scale rapidly escalates leading to the gray age that delivers a fine pension not far below their last years’s pay scale.  And we all have to start somewhere.

One new recruit also said: “It is despicable that I would be better off on the dole. It is rewarding when you make a difference to some people’s lives. It’s just sad now that I will probably have to go back to working in Tesco near home, stacking shelves and making very little difference to anyone - and unfortunately I’d be better off too.” Is this guy quitting but does not actually have a job yet? Tesco would be better off without him in any case for he will make a difference to no-one. What are the chances though that he will quit? About zero. 

Anyway, just when I thought  the fantasist Ciaran ó Neill would go away and just give out parking tickets to people in wheelchairs instead, another actor a few days later from the same guild came on the radio, and this time it was supposed to be one of the new recruits that quit. Of course he wished to remain anonymous as well in order to protect himself from what we will never know. 

Straight off the bat in his interview with a supportive George Hook, this actor in dark clothes, sun glasses, fake beard and digitally altered voice (just kinda kidding at the last part  here) claims that he was speaking on behalf  of his colleagues (note: not former colleagues) who aren't allowed to speak out for themselves. Imagine that: all those boys in blue cannot speak for themselves; pick a fight with one of them and you will know better afterwards. Anyway, it took this guy 3 years to figure that he could not live on the wages of a Gardaí, which by then was a lot better in monetary terms and heading for green pastures. Whatever job he was supposed to return to, let us hope that he is not doing maths addition as someone will be in trouble.

If the Gardaí, like the rest of the nation, think that things are going to change anytime soon, then they would need to get out their investigative tools to search for the economic clues. In the meantime and collectively so, here are just some of those clues and the maths: Ireland is the second most indebted country in the world next to Japan; GDP is an indicator of economic output only and not debt owed; Ireland still borrows money on top of all that is borrowed already just to sustain present everyday running cost for this fair Isle. Happy Easter everyone!! 

Anonymously, Barry Clifford