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Garda Commissioner examining case of alleged Garda discrimination against Travellers

The minister said it is incumbent on all members of the gardaí to abide by the code of conduct as they go about their work.

JUSTICE MINISTER CHARLIE Flanagan is in discussions with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris over a case of alleged Garda discrimination against Travellers.

The complaint, which was brought to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, alleges inequality and discrimination being levelled against Travellers by gardaí.

The issue was raised with the minister in a parliamentary question, in which the minister confirmed that correspondence from one person was received by his department on 9 April 2019.

“The contents of this correspondence, including specific allegations contained therein, are currently being examined with a view to determining the appropriate action which should be taken. I am also consulting with the Garda Commissioner on the matter,” said Flanagan.

The minister assured Martin he would respond directly to the person when he had ascertained all the relevant facts. Flanagan said the principal of equality for all citizens is a fundamental principle of the Constitution and law.

Garda code of conduct

“It is also a central part of the training for An Garda Síochána that all persons, no matter what their cultural, religious or ethnic background are treated equally.

“The Garda Code of Ethics, issued by the Policing Authority, states clearly that policing services must be provided impartially.

“The Code states that Gardaí will treat everyone with fairness and without discrimination. It is incumbent on all members of An Garda Síochána to abide by the Code as they go about their work”.

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However, the Garda Commissioner told a public meeting with the Policing Authority board last month that 48% of the 12,000 gardaí who have received training on the code of ethics had not yet signed the code. Harris said a culture of suspicion could be the reason for the low uptake.

The Policing Authority wrote the code of ethics for gardaí over two years ago, following a number of major scandals. An audit of the culture was also carried out at the time.

The code sets out nine standards of conduct and commitments for every rank of garda members.

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