Garda chiefs: Jokes not indicative of force

THREE garda staff associations have said the behaviour of three gardaí under investigation for allegedly making jokes about raping women was not indicative of the attitude of the force.

An internal garda investigation has already interviewed the gardaí who allegedly made the jokes and a report is expected to be with the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan as early as next week.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Garda Superintendents (AGS) yesterday, association president Superintendent James Smith said: “The Association of Garda Superintendents would not condone what has happened. My experience and the experience of the vast majority of all the garda superintendents is that this is not reflective of what generally would take place within the organisation.

“We deal with cases of murder and rape on a daily basis and we investigate both murder and rape in a very sensitive and compassionate manner. We would put particular emphasis on the investigation of sexual crime.”

Chief Superintendent Kieran McGann, general secretary of the Association of Garda Chief Superintendents, said: “The matter is under investigation. It was an isolated incident and not indicative of the work of an Garda Síochána.”

PJ Stone, general secretary of the Garda Representative Association said: “We do not condone any conduct or discussion that attacks women or women’s rights. Comments of this nature are inappropriate and should not have been said by anyone.”

He said that as the investigation “may breach criminality” the gardaí involved are entitled to due process.

“This incident should be viewed in isolation; it is to be dealt with in a disciplinary context. If the gardaí are guilty of wrongdoing it carries the gravest of consequences.”

Mr Stone added: “You cannot take from one incident that the entire Garda Síochána is misogynist. It has never been appropriate to make suggestive comments about rape; not in 1922 and not now.”

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors said as two investigations were under way it would be inappropriate to comment.

Meanwhile, Supt Smith said by the end of this year there would be 21 vacancies at superintendent rank, out of 189 positions. He said it was “critical” these vacancies be filled immediately.

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