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Irish police allowed to wear turbans and hijabs

26th Apr 2019

Elham Asaad Buaras

Ireland’s police (An Garda Síochána) announced on April 4 that it will allow the wearing of hijabs and turbans as part of a drive to recruit more members from ethnic and minority communities.

In a statement, the force said its current uniform rules were a “major barrier” to some potential recruits from the Sikh and Muslim communities. It aims to grow from its current total of 14,161 members to 15,000 by 2021.

Police services of the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well as the NYPD in New York, US, have amended their uniform regulation to accommodate wearers of religious garments.

Under a new recruitment campaign, members of Ireland’s minority communities will be encouraged to join the police as changes to the uniform will take into account religious considerations and requirements.

“In order to encourage candidates from minority communities, An Garda Síochána will consider alterations to the Garda uniform to take account of religious and ethnic requirements subject to operational, and health and safety obligations” a statement by the police said.

“For example, An Garda Síochána is to allow the wearing of the turban for members of the Sikh community and the hijab for members of the Muslim community. An Garda Síochána has identified such matters as a major barrier to some people considering becoming a Garda member,” it added.

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

“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,” he added.

Although the police force is predominantly white with most of its members from an Irish Catholic background, in recent years there has been an increase in diversification, with the rising numbers of recruits from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

 

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