48. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to address the failure to ensure that the Garda pay deal applies to all sections of the force, including superintendents and chief superintendents, and that the anomalies that have arisen as a result of this failure will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5964/18]
Deputy Charles Flanagan: I am very anxious to have this issue resolved. The Deputy will be aware that, at the time of the potential Garda dispute in late 2016, the matter was referred to the Labour Court to develop a recommendation addressing the pay issues raised by the ranks of garda, sergeant and inspector. The recommendation applied, therefore, to those ranks only. The associations for superintendents and chief superintendents have consistently argued that the pay deal should also have extended to them. Arising from this, they have not yet signed up to the public service stability agreement. This is regrettable and means that the benefits that flow from the agreement are not yet being applied to their ranks.
Having said that, I met both associations recently and assured them that I and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform are keen to resolve their issues. Clearly, this must be done within the parameters of public pay policy, using the structures that are in place to address such matters. In the meantime, I encourage the two associations to reconsider their position in regard to the pay agreement. I can assure Deputy O'Callaghan that I will use my best endeavours to resolve the dispute. I might add that the chair of the public service stability agreement oversight body has kindly offered her services to assist the parties and a meeting between the parties has been held. I expect there will be further engagement in the near future.
I am aware that the Association of Garda Superintendents, in particular, has referred to an anomaly having arisen as a result of the Labour Court recommendation in 2016. This relates primarily to the increases in earnings for those groups covered by the recommendation. Clearly, the increases awarded to the inspector rank had the effect of narrowing the pay differentials between the ranks of superintendent and inspector, and this is central to the current dispute.
I am personally committed to finding a resolution to this issue, as is the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Donohoe. I hope to see progress in the near future.