GSRMA AGM Debates Ongoing Difficulties Of Members
The Garda Retired Members Association annual delegate conference took place in the Malton Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry.
The ongoing uncertainty over public service pensions and any likely cuts by central government has remained one of the main issues for discussion this year. It has become more pointed with the recent agreement between public service unions and government and fears that pensions may be targeted for cuts as result of promises of improvements made to salaries of those currently serving.
Delegates debated a number of motions including strengthening its role within the Alliance of Retired Public Sector employees and organising more active methods in making and campaigning against any proposed cuts to the pensions.
More calls were made to increase the pressure on central government to allow for direct negotiation to ensure a fair and equitable hearing of Associations’ concerns. Currently retired public servants have no representation at the negotiating table despite being the mooted target for any cuts or changes to public service pensions.
The point was made repeatedly that the view abroad both within the media amongst politicians and at large that retired public servants were in receipt of ‘gold-plated’ pensions but the reality was very different amongst the majority of members and non-members.
Many members and retired public servants were helping fund their sons and daughters who themselves had lost their jobs, or were struggling under a heavy tax burden and various charges.
Outgoing President Gerry Blake urged members to motivate their local branches to lobby government politicians on the ground and make their case for not cutting public service pensions. He pointed to the Wexford branch who through local media coverage forced Minister Brendan Howlin to meet with them to hear their concerns. A national platform on the issue while necessary was not always the most useful method of making the case and that ultimately what works is the local focus of the constituencies of the relevant government politicians and ministers.