Tuesday 23 July 2019

Gardai demand right to grow beards but Noirín O'Sullivan says it's 'not a high priority'

(Stock image)
(Stock image)
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Gardai have called for a change in the organisation's rules to allow them the right to wear beards if they choose.

Delegates at the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) in Galway today almost unanimously backed a motion to alter the regulations.

Association general secretary Pat Ennis said police officers in other countries were entitled to wear beards and he could see no problem with the Garda.

He believed the current regulations were antiquated and should be changed.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan Picture: PA
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan Picture: PA

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However, Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan appeared to dismiss any prospect of a change in the short term.

Asked if she would consider the proposal, she said there were issues that were more important for the Garda force at the moment and they deserved higher priority.

The association previously bristled over the issue of uniformed gardai wearing a beard in 2001 when Garda John Wilson, now retired and formerly a key figure in the whistleblower controversy alongside Sgt Maurice McCabe, was confined to indoor duties because he grew a beard.

Mr Wilson was eventually allowed to retain his beard and restored to full duties after it was argued on his behalf that he had an unusual skin condition, which was eased by growing a beard.

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