GRA of­fi­cial fails to get his bul­ly­ing claim in­ves­ti­gated

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Michael Clif­ford

A com­plaint of bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment by a civil­ian staff mem­ber of the Garda Rep­re­sen­ta­tive As­so­ci­a­tion has not been in­ves­ti­gated de­spite re­peated ef­forts by the com­plainant to have it heard.

John O’ Ke­effe, who re­signed last month as com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor of the GRA, has writ­ten to the gov­ern­ing body of the or­gan­i­sa­tion ask­ing its 31 mem­bers to deal with the mat­ter. Mr O’Ke­effe is still em­ployed by the GRA un­til the end of the year and he con­tin­ues to edit the as­so­ci­a­tion’s mag­a­zine, Garda Re­view.

In his let­ter, he asks the mem­bers of the body, the Cen­tral Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee, to iden­tify to whom he should make his com­plaint as he has made re­peated ef­forts to be heard.

“It is al­most two weeks since I lodged such a re­quest to do so (make a com­plaint),” he wrote in the let­ter seen by the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner.

“How­ever, in this time, I have re­ceived no sub­stan­tive re­sponse from those to whom I wrote. Please also note that a week ago, I then sim­ply asked that my re­quest to make such a com­plaint be for­warded to your­selves as the gov­ern­ing body of the as­so­ci­a­tion for your con­sid­er­a­tion.”

He points out in the let­ter that the mem­bers did not re­ceive his re­quest de­spite his best ef­forts. Mr O’Ke­effe also at­tached to his let­ter a batch of emails show­ing the pre­vi­ous at­tempts he has made to have his com­plaint heard.

It was re­ported last month that Mr O’Ke­effe had re­signed as com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor cit­ing “un­ten­able dif­fer­ences” on pol­icy but he would con­tinue in the of­fice un­til the end of the year. He took up the role 10 months ago when his pre­de­ces­sor re signed. Ef­forts to con­tact Mr O’Ke­effe for com­ment yes­ter­day were un­suc­cess­ful. His let­ter to the CEC was re­ceived by the mem­bers in the lat­ter half of this week.

Ear­lier this week, the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner re­ported on an en­tirely sep­a­rate com­plaint of bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment in the GRA in which a fe­male mem­ber com­plained against four male mem­bers. A hu­man re­sources com­pany, re­tained by the GRA, be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter last week, more than a year af­ter the com­plaint was made. Three of the four mem­bers com­plained of are un­der­stood to be not co-op­er­at­ing with that in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Last Jan­uary, a re­view by the man­age­ment con­sul­tancy firm, Am­per­sand, was scathing of the poli­cies, pro­ce­dures and man­age­ment struc­tures in the GRA. In par­tic­u­lar, the re­view cited the gov­ern­ing body as be­ing far too large and a per­cep­tion among the GRA’s 10,200 mem­bers that a “jobs for boys” cul­ture ex­ists in the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

De­spite the crit­i­cisms and pledges to im­ple­ment a raft of rec­om­men­da­tions the struc­tures, in­clud­ing the 31-mem­ber gov­ern­ing body, con­tinue to ex­ist.

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