90. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address the failure to ensure that the Garda pay deal applies to all sections of the force, including superintendents and chief superintendents; the anomalies that have arisen as a result of this failure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5678/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that at the time of the potential Garda dispute in 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 only to those ranks.
The Superintendents and Chief Superintendents Associations 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 have met with both Associations recently and assured them that I and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform are anxious to resolve their issues. Clearly this has to be done within the parameters of public pay policy using the structures that are in place to address such matters. In the meantime, I would encourage the two Associations to reconsider their position in relation to the Pay Agreement and I can assure the Deputy 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 that there will be further engagement in the near future.
I am aware that the Superintendents Association, 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 Superintendents and Inspectors and this is central to the current dispute.
To reiterate, I am personally committed to resolving this dispute, as is my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and I hope to see progress in the near future.