Force’s recruitment drive to include anti-racism training for members

SERVING gardaí are to undergo anti-racism training as part of the force’s new recruitment drive among ethnic minorities.

The new integration awareness strategy is aimed at combating incidents of institutional racism.

The training was announced yesterday during an information seminar on the current garda recruitment drive, which is the first following the Government’s decision to remove the Irish language as a condition for application.

The seminar, held in Dublin, was attended by around 70 people from China, Africa, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, as well as people of Muslim, Sikh and Jewish faiths.

“We have put in place procedures to ensure there is no institutional racism in An Garda Síochána,” said Supt Tom Murphy.

An independent human rights audit of An Garda Síochána published last April found that procedures and operating practices within the force “can lead to institutional racism” particularly in relation to Nigerians, Travellers and Muslims.

Supt Murphy, who heads the garda Racial and Intercultural Office, said he and his colleagues were currently devising an integration awareness strategy for all gardaí.

He said the force was also drawing up a poster and leaflet campaign for garda stations on this issue.

Dr Jean Pierre Eyanga of Integrating Ireland asked what guarantees there were that garda trainees from ethnic minorities would not face racism. Supt Murphy said he could not account for 12,000 members, but said that if racism “reared its ugly head” the force would have efficient and effective procedures to deal with it.

Padraig Love of the Public Appointments Service said there had been 4,000 applications already and the total number could top last year’s record of 10,500 by the October 19 deadline date.

Harprett Kaur, also a Sikh, said racism occurred on a daily basis, including a recent stabbing incident in Athlone which was carried out by people who thought Sikhs were Muslims. She expressed concern at the “poor response” from gardaí.

Addressing the seminar, Justice Minister Michael McDowell said the country would bring “major problems” on itself if it did not ensure that the force reflected the make-up of society.

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