Have courage to say ‘no’, Garda reservists urged

The new Garda commissioner has told the latest batch of reservists to have the "courage to say no" and stand up to wrongdoing.

In her first address as Garda commissioner at Templemore College, Nóirín O’Sullivan urged reservists to question why things are done a certain way. She told 62 graduates she would lead the “rightings of systematic wrongs” in An Garda Síochána.

“It’s a beginning for you, it’s a renewed beginning for An Garda Síochána, and, as you might have heard during the week, it’s also a beginning for me,” she said.

She quipped that the “interim” Garda Commissioner bit had been “amputated” from her title — one she had been stuck with for the past eight months until her appointment last Tuesday.

Ms O’Sullivan, speaking at the graduation ceremony, told reservists that the roadmap provided to them at the college had taught them to take pride in the force.

She described this as a “blue line” of bravery, of community involvement, of service, and a blue line “between the citizen and chaos”. She said: “I’m proud of that. I hope you’re proud of it.

“We must never confuse examination of conscience with abandonment of pride. I will lead the examination of our corporate conscience and the righting of systematic wrongs.”

She said every time there is a “sliding away” from best standards a “disservice” was done to the honourable gardaí trying to do the job the way it should be done.

As well as pride, she said the roadmap also taught them to be courageous. “Courage isn’t always spectacular. Sometimes, it’s as small as one word. One word like ‘no’. Having the courage to say ‘no’, and stand up to a consensus that has taken hold but is wrong.”

She added: “One word like ‘why’. Having the courage to put your hand up in a given situation and wonder ‘why?’ Why should something be done a certain way, just because that was the way it was always done.”

The recruits bring the size of the Garda Reserve to 1,103. The strength of the force stands at 12,835 as of October 31.

The commissioner welcomed the announcement of 100 more Garda recruits on December 8. “The announcement of further new recruits is very welcome,” she said.


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