Callinan pays tribute to force's handling of abuse
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has paid tribute to the professionalism of his force in coping with confrontation and intimidation while dealing with public order incidents.
He said gardai were regularly faced with threats of violence and often deeply personal and offensive verbal abuse.
Mr Callinan was speaking a week after the 'rape tape' controversy saw gardai accused of being abusive and threatening towards people protesting against the Corrib gas line project.
He told the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association in Westport, Co Mayo, that they must act at all times in a professional manner and draw on their training and experience to deal with challenges and confrontational behaviour.
"People know the standards I expect from them. I am proud to lead an organisation providing sterling service to the community.
"Those standards must continue to be upheld," Mr Callinan added.
He said it would not be appropriate to go beyond the public statement he had issued last week on the rape remarks recorded during a private conversation between five members of the force as it was under investigation by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.
But he pointed out that the gardai had been policing the Corrib gas line protests for a number of years and had done so in a professional manner.
He added: "I am very, very satisfied that members of my police force are conducting their business professionally down there."
Dealing with garda operations to counteract the threat posed by dissident republicans, Mr Callinan noted that, over the past two years, the gardai had arrested 108 people and 43 of them had been charged in the Special Criminal Court with terrorist offences.
"These successes stem from the work of our members and are to be commended," he said.
Mr Callinan described the murder of 25-year-old Catholic PSNI constable Ronan Kerr as a horrible atrocity. It was particularly sickening, he said, that a young man could be targeted and murdered precisely because he took the decision to step up, don a uniform and and serve his community.