Deeply Unpopular Drew Harris Shown First Hand The Extent of Garda Disaffection

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06/07/2020 Covid-19 Pandemic (Coronavirus), Ireland, Lockdown Day 102. Day 8 of Phase three. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris speaking to the media after meeting with The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD in Slane Garda Station .Photo Leon Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

A vote of no confidence in the Garda Commissioner has been passed overwhelmingly by the Garda Representatives Association.

The vote of no confidence in Drew Harris was passed by 98.7% in favour to 1.3% against.

The vote of no confidence was held against a backdrop of discontent among gardaí over working patterns, problems with recruitment, retention, training and staff morale.

Harris has already said he would not resign regardless of the result of the ballot. Thee former PSNI deputy chief constable, took up his role five years ago this month.

Of 10,803 members asked: “Do you have confidence in the Garda Commissioner? Yes or No“, a total of 9,013 voted no confidence with 116 voting confidence in him.

Mr Harris had announced plans to revert to pre-pandemic rotas, under which officers would return to six-day working weeks, followed by four days off.

This proved unpopular with rank and file gardaí, many of whom want to retain Covid-era rotas, where shifts are longer but they work four days on and four off.

Last year, the GRA said the six-day week would mean 47 additional days on duty per year for some members, increasing commuting and childcare costs.

After months of negotiations Mr Harris said last month that he was proceeding with the six-day rota, despite objections. The GRA described the decision as “the last straw“.

The GRA was formed in 1978 and this is the first time that it has held a vote of no confidence in a garda commissioner.

Mr Harris is the only person appointed from outside the force to lead An Garda Síochána in its 100-year history and consequently the only commissioner to experience such a nadir.