AGSI call on decision-makers to re-visit priority list of vaccinations for members of An Garda Siochana
“There’s a need to reconsider the COVID-19 vaccination priority plan”
[Listen Back] General Secretary speaks to Today with Claire Byrne presented by Philip Boucher Hayes CLICK TO LISTEN
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has called for a review of priority vaccinations for blue light workers including members of An Garda Siochana.
Speaking today, General Secretary, Antoinette Cunningham says, “The decision-makers must reconsider the vaccination priority list in light of the new strain and contamination risks to members of An Garda Síochána who are a critical group for managing the pandemic response.”
It’s not clear when Gardai will be vaccinated in the current Government vaccination programme.
AGSI say members are continuing to explain, engage, and encourage before moving to enforce any of the existing regulations and to date there has been a high level of public compliance.
Referring specifically to the new variant of coronavirus, Ms Cunningham says AGSI are seeing a greater number of members being affected either because of contracting COVID-19 or because of the need to self-isolate as a close contact of a confirmed case.
“There’s a significant risk in policing the pandemic right now more than ever before and we are calling on those responsible for the vaccination programme to re-visit the placement of Gardai on the priority list. Members changed Rosters to allow for a 20% increase in manpower to police regulations relating to COVID-19 and they have been working 12-hour shifts since last March and they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
“But, AGSI are increasingly concerned about the welfare of our members with this new variant of the virus and it’s important to highlight that the enforcement of regulations cannot be done without a frontline police force. We are a core group in the policing of the pandemic. What sets us apart from other groups is that the enforcement of regulations cannot be done without members of An Garda Siochana. You have to look at how society stands up and it stands up under the rule of law. We do not need a mass exposure of members to this within the Garda organisation right now and we don’t want to be super spreaders.”