| 9.2°C Dublin

major risk Gardaí ‘insulted’ they are not higher up on vaccine list ahead of busy St Patrick's Day

President of GRA says the low prioritisation of gardaí in the national vaccination plan is an insult to members facing into one of the busiest policing days of the year.

Close

Up to 200 gardaí will be on patrol in Dublin city centre tomorrow to avoid a repeat of February's lockdown clashes. Photo: Damien Eagers

Up to 200 gardaí will be on patrol in Dublin city centre tomorrow to avoid a repeat of February's lockdown clashes. Photo: Damien Eagers

Up to 200 gardaí will be on patrol in Dublin city centre tomorrow to avoid a repeat of February's lockdown clashes. Photo: Damien Eagers

Gardaí are “insulted” they are not higher up on the vaccine roll-out list and said the role they play in combatting the pandemic is not “properly recognised” by Government.

President of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) Frank Thornton said the low prioritisation of gardaí in the national vaccination plan is an insult to members facing into one of the busiest policing days of the year - St Patrick’s Day.

Mr Thornton said he is meeting Justice Minister Helen McEntee on Thursday and will “forcefully tell her that it’s time the critical role gardaí play in controlling the pandemic, saving lives and keeping the economy going is properly recognised; and the sacrifice they and their families have made over the past year be respected”.

In a message to members, he said an already dangerous occupation now has additional risks due to the pandemic.

He added that throughout the health emergency members of An Garda Síochána are also finding themselves as the first responders to people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

"The members of An Garda Síochána are currently preparing for what, under normal circumstances is one of the busiest and most dangerous days in the policing calendar,” Mr Thornton said.

“Yet again the women and men we represent are an over-stretched workforce facing into the unknown without protection against a deadly virus that could infect them, and as a consequence, their families and the public.

“The GRA is focused on the safety, health and welfare of our members. Policing in ordinary times is a dangerous occupation but the current pandemic has brought additional risks – as we have seen in recent weeks.

“Whether policing a large protest in a busy city centre or attending a house party in rural Ireland, our members are increasingly on the receiving end of vicious attacks and assaults.”

Mr Thornton said it’s a source of “anger and frustration” for gardaí to be among the only first responders on the frontline not to be prioritised for vaccination.

“The Government and society have looked to gardaí in our time of crisis and we have consistently delivered,” he said.

"We have seen incredible demands placed on our members, and time after time they stepped up to the plate and did whatever was asked of them.

“The people on the frontline dealing with the fallout from this crisis cannot shy away from the dangers they and their families face.

“Placing gardaí at number 10 on the vaccination rollout plan is an insult to the women and men who have contributed so much to date.”


Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Top Videos





Privacy