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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 1 June, 2020

Gardaí in Wicklow told to stop accepting free pizzas from local businesses

They had initially been told to decline all gifts.

GARDAÍ IN WICKLOW were ordered to stop accepting gifts during the Covid-19 crisis, has learned. 

Officers attached to the Wicklow division were told late last month that they could no longer take in food or drinks from well-wishers. 

A number of tweets from An Garda Síochána’s social media pages have shown care packages being sent from members of the public to officers. 

However, an email sent to all staff in the Wicklow division late last month instructed members of An Garda Sicohána to decline all such gifts. 

The email reads: “I am directed by Chief Superintendent, Wicklow, to request that all staff when gifts/hospitality are received at stations during the crisis that the callers should be thanked for their generosity and the kindness of their gestures but to respectfully decline these gifts (eg gifts of food and drink delivered to station). 

“Members of the public who would like to donate to more worthy recipients can be provided with the following contact details or any of the local volunteer groups.” 

Details for a community support helpline are also listed in the email. 

There were initial concerns from senior gardaí that accepting food and drinks would contravene a section of the garda’s code of ethics. It is understood that Wicklow was the only division to temporarily ban the goodwill gifts.

A number of gardaí have cited their frustration at the move as it makes frontline gardaí seem ungrateful, people familiar with the situation have said. 

It is understood that a compromise has been agreed upon whereby care packages from members of the public will now still be allowed but that donations from businesses will not be accepted. 

A number of stations had been receiving free takeaway meals from local chippers and pizza chains. 

Garda social media channels have promoted the fact that they had been receiving gifts from the public. 

A spokeswoman for gardaí said: “An Garda Síochána policy on Acceptance of Gifts, Hospitality and Sponsorship is published on the Garda Website

“An Garda Síochána will continue to gratefully accept and appreciates the volume of small personal hospitality gifts (baking, sweets, chocolates etc…) from individual members of the public, in particular our younger citizens. An Garda Síochána is giving credit to these acts of generosity on our social media platforms.”An Garda Síochána will advise, refer or divert any offers of hospitality received from commercial companies to more worthy causes at this time, charities, voluntary groups and our front line colleagues in the Health service who by the nature of their current job may not be in a position to avail of catering and hospitality.”

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