THE AGSI has vowed to defend four of its brave Kilkenny/Carlow branch members, who have been directed to appear before the Assistant Garda Commissioner this afternoon (Thursday, March 28) in Templemore, from the ‘outrageous’ threat of disciplinary action.
Sergeants Pat Baldwin (Kilkenny city), Ted Hughes (Thomastown), Joe Hanly (Tullow) and John Foley (Carlow) twice walked out of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) conference in Sligo as Commissioner Martin Callinan and Justice Minister Alan Shatter were about to address delegates.
Sgt Pat Baldwin, interviewed on RTE Radio One said, “We were mandated by our members on the ground. We don’t have any confidence in the Minister for Justice with what he has done to the police force in this country. It took ninety years to build up this force and it is being destroyed at the stroke of a pen. Garda Management and the Minister have seriously underestimated how low morale is in the job.”
Commissioner Callinan took a dim view of the Kilkenny/Carlow Sergeants walkout. “Showing disrespect to the Minister of the day and the Commissioner of the day is not on as far as I’m concerned and I don’t expect it from either a member of the Sergeant or Garda rank.”
AGSI General Secretary John Redmond said, “We support the members right to bring the views of the people that they represent to the attention of conference and that’s their job. It is my job to do certain things on behalf of 2,000 Sergeants and Inspectors that I represent as well and I will do my job. I won’t stand back. Those brave people did what they were told to do by their membership. They shouldn’t be faced with the threat of discipline. They shouldn’t be threatened. It is outrageous what is happening.”