Force's Turban Ban Is Here to Stay

Article excerpt

THE Garda last night defended its rule banning Sikh officers fromwearing a turban, claiming the force was not racist.

Controversy erupted earlier this month after a Sikh man, an IT professional inhis 20s, began training to join the Garda Reserve.

Initially he was told that wearing a turban would not be a problem but later asenior officer warned him that if he wanted to go on duty in a station, hewould have to remove it, sparking criticism about the Garda's alleged outdatedrules.

Superintendent Kevin Donohoe of the Garda Press Office said the force was notadvocating one religious belief over another and that it had an effectiveintercultural policy.

'There is no doubt that the Garda uniform and dress standards present uniqueissues in accommodating cultural diversity,' he said.

'These are challenges faced by all facets of Irish society as diversity andintegration more and more become real issues.

'An Garda Siochana has, historiimage-We are an impartial police service' cally,been seen as providing an impartial police service, policing all sections ofsociety equally.

'Accommodating variations to our standard uniform and dress, including thosewith religious symbolism, may well affect that traditional stance and give anof An Garda Siochana which the Commissioner feels the public would not want. …