It is my honour as President
of the Garda Representative Association to welcome you to our 34th Annual Delegate Conference.
I extend a warm welcome to all delegates, but especially to those attending for the first time. Every delegate carries a
great responsibility at our annual conference. We do not act for ourselves, but for those who have sent us here. The role of a GRA elected representative is demanding and invariably we meet our members in their
hour of greatest need. Many are subject to discipline allegations and investigations of misconduct following complaints; and while most are deemed inadmissible or minor, some are prosecuted through the courts.
On a daily basis this is where our members require the experience and support of professional trained colleagues.
Commitment in An Garda Sochna is inversely rewarded; the more effective you are the greater the likelihood of complaints
being levied against you. This is an occupational hazard for all police officers, compounded by a legislative system that is not disposed to the rigorous prosecution of vexatious and malicious complainants.
Without the support and solidarity of this Association many of our members would be further suffering.
Using formal negotiations, the established protocols and procedures and the media we have our professional voice amplified
by our strength of numbers and dedication of our members. This Association was built and is maintained by its representatives; those who gather information, put forward ideas and suggestions that lead to
effective solutions and ultimately Association policy.
I pay tribute to all representatives and on this occasion give a special mention to all those who put themselves forward
as Divisional Representatives and commit themselves to the great challenges we face now and in the future.
Since our last Conference many of our colleagues have retired from the Force; including many of our own representatives
who served this Association with distinction. I would formally like to acknowledge their commitment and thank them all very sincerely for their role in our fine tradition of representation.
I extend a particularly warm welcome to our fraternal delegates and hope they enjoy our hospitality. Their presence
enhances conference and gives us an international dimension that reminds us we are part of the wider police family sharing similar concerns and true comradeship.
I welcome the members of the press who are attending conference. We may be critical when we perceive the media to be a
mouthpiece for authority or the opinions of the moguls, but good journalism encourages debate and all we ask is that our voice be heard in an impartial, balanced and fair manner. I place on record my
appreciation for all the assistance that I have been afforded from the secretariat members and staff at Head Office, Phibsboro Tower and also the Standing Orders Committee for the work they have done in
compiling the conference agenda. I look forward to meaningful debate and democratic policy decisions.