98.7% vote for no confidence in Garda Commissioner Drew HarrisMike Finnerty 13 Sep 2023
The first-ever confidence vote in the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has seen 98.7% of those balloted stating they have no confidence in Harris’ leadership.
On a turnout of over 80%, the overwhelming show of no confidence in Harris is sure to add pressure to the embattled Garda Commissioner.
Nearly 11,000 ballot papers were sent out to rank and file gardaí in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, with just 1.3% of those polled expressing confidence in Harris’ performance.
The Commissioner claimed he should have not been subjected to the vote, and insists that he will not resign, regardless of the result, and An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Justice Helen McEntee have expressed support in Harris.
Harris stated that he is a policeman, not a politician, and his performance should not be measured by a vote, further stating that the ballot was “extraordinary and unnecessary.”
The Garda Representative Association will meet in Kilkenny at the end of the month to discuss the implications of the result and what further action to take.
The vote was brought about after gardai complained that pre-pandemic rosters have not been restored, which requires them to work six days in a row as opposed to the old system of four days in a row.
Sources told RTÉ told morale within garda ranks was low, and claim that Harris refuses to acknowledge this issue.
The Garda Senior Management Team stated it jas “full confidence” in Harris, with the executive saying “the commissioner’s commitment to the welfare of garda personnel, to protecting communities, and keeping the public and the State safe is evident from the many improvements introduced over the last five years with the co-operation of members of An Garda Síochána and garda staff.”
It said that “from his first day in the role, Commissioner Harris has continually emphasised the importance of An Garda Síochána maintaining its proud tradition of community-focused policing.”