18 October, 2005

Boys and Girls in Blue

Finally got the opportunity to spend a day in Templemore at the Garda Training College. "In Scientia Securitas" is the motto - "In knowledge, safety." Met briefly with Chief Superintendant Kieran McGann who runs the show. It was Minority recruitment day yesterday, and Muslims, Sikhs, and Travellers were listening to the sales talk.

Human Rights are on the curriculum, but there's a long way to go to reform the Gardai as the drip-feed from the Morris Tribunal in Donegal continues.

One step would be to publish and revise the Garda Code. It is by all accounts an antiquated document that bans members of the force from living within ten miles of a relative, or spouse's relative! It also, rumour has it, bans the keeping of chickens by members of the force.

I met Sargents Michael Byrne and Sara Moylar who are working with the Human Rights Initiative. Not an easy task to adapt the force for the challenges of policing a new Ireland. Perhaps some mechanism can be found to place part of the training (perhaps a law module) within another third level Institute so that recruits are exposed to other students in a learning context.

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