Threatened disciplinary action against four Garda sergeants for publicly snubbing a speech by the force's chief has been branded despicable and disgraceful.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) said it is standing "four-square" behind the officers who have been summoned to a meeting with Assistant Commissioner Fintan Fanning over the protest.
It is understood they will be warned that Garda bosses are taking their high-profile demonstration at the Agsi annual conference this week "very, very seriously".
The four, from the Carlow/Kilkenny division, staged a walkout when Justice Minister Alan Shatter got up to address the gathering and - in an unprecedented move - again when the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan took to the podium.
Both Mr Shatter and Mr Callinan will discuss potential actions after the meeting.
Agsi general secretary John Redmond angrily denounced any threatened measures against the members whom he said were simply representing their colleagues.
"We are absolutely four-square behind those members," he said.
"It is despicable to threaten those hard-working members with discipline for bringing the views of their membership to the attention of the national executive and the delegates of this conference.
"It is a disgraceful way to treat people who are trying to engage with management on the welfare and pay and conditions of members, who are working hard day in and day out in rural Ireland. It is disgraceful."
Mr Redmond, who distanced himself from remarks by one of the protesters that they had no confidence in the commissioner, said the four sergeants were elected representatives for Agsi and were doing what they had been mandated to.