However, both Gardaa had claimed that their “general exclusion” from the Working Time Directive meant that the 1997 law had not been brought into compliance with the EU directive. Last year, lengthy negotiations took place between Garda representatives, leaders and officials from the ministries of justice and finance. Changes to the traditional but very complex “three-de-time” system began after, as revealed by the Sunday Independent last year, it was found that the old system violated EU working time guidelines. The directive, introduced for health and safety reasons, recognises the need for rest periods during working time as a fundamental workers` right in the EU. In particular, when a working day lasts more than six hours, each worker is entitled to breaks. However, the major lifestyle changes of the past decade have had a profound impact on Gardai`s working conditions in the posted system. Many young Gardai bought houses and apartments during the real estate boom, but because of the price explosion in Dublin, they decided to buy away outside the city. Shuttle hours have created many constraints due to lack of free time. Although the new system is free for almost six months, sources say it is much more effective from the police perspective.
It will allow managers to have more Gardai in service during the periods when they are most needed. The old service chart system meant that the same number of Gardai were on duty on a Monday at 6 a.m. as at police rush hour on evenings and weekend evenings. The European Working Time Directive is transposed into Irish legislation, but is currently excluded from its remit following the adoption of Section 3 of the Working Time Act 1997, which meant that the scope of the directive did not apply to members of An Garda Sochna or the armed forces. One of the key issues in the negotiations was the length of leave under the new system and it is clear that it has been agreed that the current annual leave will be reduced from 34 days to 30 days. However, the Gardai will continue to receive a total of 164 days of annual leave in the shift work system. In recent decades, Garda representatives have been able to negotiate a number of allowances and support payments that have made shift work financially attractive. Under the new overlapping shift work system, they will complete a six-week work cycle from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2 p.m.
to 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. The three-hour ride in the evening will put more Gardai to work in cities and towns at a time when they are most in demand. However, the case did not go any further after the High Court informed the Minister of Employment, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O Connor, that she intended to introduce a bill to cabinet “within the next six weeks” to pass the terms of the Working Time Directive to Garda. Greater flexibility will be achieved by changing departure times to teams accordingly, increasing the demand for surveillance of major events and investigations, and providing for a court presence. It is understood, gardai, once this April, a cycle of six teams will begin, followed by four days of vacation. In addition to the days off, gardai will have his annual leave.