Written Answers. - Garda Pay.

Mary Coughlan

Question:

200 Miss Coughlan asked the Minister for Justice if she will set up an independent commission on Garda pay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10716/97]

With regard to Garda pay, the Garda have, over the years, received all the general round pay increases awarded to the public sector. They have also benefited from special increases, all of which were in return for agreement to co-operate with change and to improve efficiency.

Constraints on pay which are a vital ingredient in underpinning the overall strategy on targets of national programmes affect all public sector workers — not just the gardaí — and are in no way discriminatory towards gardaí. Current Government pay policy for the public sector is contained in Partnership 2000.

It is important, however, to draw attention to the fact that a fundamental review of Garda efficiency and effectiveness is under way at present which, among other things, is examining the role of the force and how it is functioning. I understand that the review group, under the chairmanship of Mr. Tony Barry, will make recommendations which will involve significant change.

They are expected to draw attention to the fact that issues affecting the structures of Garda pay and allowances will be a very important element in the delivery of this change. I believe that, should the Government accept the recommendations in the report, it would be reasonable that the restructuring of rewards would fall to be looked at in the context of delivering that change. I have already indicated in my speech at the Annual Delegate Conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors that there are no proposals to set up an independent commission on Garda pay.