This week the representatives of the Gardaí - the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) - are holding their conference. Next week it'll be the turn of the teachers unions in the INTO, the ASTI & the TUI.
At all four conferences the Minister for Justice (Shatter) and the Minister for Education & Skills (Quinn) will be invited by the leaders of the unions/representatives to address the conference.
The Minister will sit with the union leaders for the entire duration.
But why should these organisations invite their relevant minister as each minister has history of ignoring these representatives and treating them with contempt?
For instance Quinn announced changes which effectively will lead to the abolition of the Junior Certificate and only told the union leaders an hour before his speech. Parents representatives were also ignored. Shatter has closed police stations in a similar manner.
Ignoring these Ministers would, in a way, make them appear irrelevant.
They (the Ministers) have nothing to contribute to the provision of services in education and policing except to come cap in hand to the unions looking for money.