Labour spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Seán Sherlock, has welcomed confirmation from the Taoiseach that in the event of industrial action by Gardaí on Friday, 999 calls will continue to be answered as normal.

During Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Wednesday, Deputy Sherlock moved to allay the fears of communities across the country that if talks at the Labour Court do not produce any resolution to the Garda pay dispute, emergency phone calls would still be responded to during the strike period.

“I welcome the Taoiseach’s confirmation to me today that 999 calls will continue to be answered in the event of Garda strike action on Friday. People deserve to feel safe in their homes. And in particular those living in rural or remote areas need to know that in the event of an emergency, their calls won’t go unanswered; or if a neighbourhood watch programme reports a local crime, that call won’t be ignored,” Deputy Sherlock said.

“We’ve been hearing reports from charities that care for older people about a rise in calls to national helplines and it’s natural that some of our older citizens, particularly those who live by themselves, might feel especially vulnerable in the event of strike action. It is also welcome that the Garda Emergency Response Unit and Armed Regional Support unit will be asked to report to duty as normal.

“But the Government needs to ensure that, if the strike does go ahead this Friday, an adequate contingency plan is put in place so people right across the country can continue to feel safe in their homes. It goes without saying that we in the Labour Party hope a resolution can be found with Gardaí at the Labour Court today (Wednesday). But it should also go without saying that we believe it didn’t need to be like this,” he said.