Diversity and the turban, yet again

sikh-policeAn Garda Siochána have again made it absolutely clear that they do not want foreigners in the police force. In 2007, having appealed for recruits from what is euphemistically called Ireland’s ‘new communities’, it refused to allow a Sikh volunteer to the Garda reserve force to wear his turban on duty. The Garda explicitly denied that the turban ban was based on race or religion, but rather on the imperative to provide an ‘impartial police service’ requiring, among other things, ‘our standard uniform and dress’. According to Kevin O’Donoghue, Head of the Garda Press and Public Relations, ‘within the principles of an intercultural approach, An Garda Siochána is not advocating one religious belief over another, nor are we, in any way, being racist. We are attempting to… retain an image of impartiality while providing a State service to all citizens’. At the same time, An Garda declined to rule out the wearing of Catholic religious symbols such as crucifixes, Lenten ashes and pioneer pins. Continue reading “Diversity and the turban, yet again”