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Gardaí to permit wearing of turbans and hijabs in diversity drive

Gardaí say the decision to consider alterations to the garda uniform is in line with other forces, such as in Britain and around the world

Gardaí are to permit the wearing of turbans and hijabs as part of the garda uniform in an effort to encourage more people from minority communities here to join the service.

A new recruitment campaign is seeking to attract candidates from across society to become members of An Garda Síochána.

Although the number of recruits from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds has been increasing in recent years, An Garda Síochána remains in large part a homogenous organisation with most of its members from a predominantly Irish Catholic background.

However, a new recruitment campaign entitled ‘The difference is you’ aims to change that.

In order to encourage candidates from minority communities, An Garda Síochána says it is to consider alterations to the garda uniform to take into account religious and ethnic requirements.

These will be subject to operational, health and safety obligations, it says.

In future, it is to allow members of the Sikh community to wear turbans and Muslims to wear hijabs. It says it has identified these as a major barrier to some people becoming a garda.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said the force needs to become more diverse to properly reflect the society it serves and it is focusing on people who might not have previously considered a career in the police

Gardaí also say this new approach is in line with those adapted by the PSNI, NYPD, and police services in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said: “I very much welcome the Commissioner’s decision to facilitate alterations to the Garda uniform on request to accommodate religious and ethnic diversity.

“An Garda Síochána is there to serve all members of our society so it is important for it to reflect the welcome and increasing diversity of Irish life. I would urge members of our minority and new communities to consider applying as Ireland needs increased workforce diversity in all our public services.”.

By Paul Reynolds

Crime Correspondent

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