Friday 23 March 2018

Gifts for gardai appear to be a step too far

The Garda Siochana has accepted a €45,000 new van for community policing duties from a Cork businessman. This donation comes from a concerned citizen acting with impeccable motives, which are beyond question. However, the idea of An Garda Siochana accepting donations from private citizens or community groups does raise serious ethical questions for the publicly-funded police force.

Indeed, the Acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan yesterday clarified that although she is in favour of "new ways of doing things", this does not include the force accepting privately donated vehicles for the garda fleet.

The acting comissioner is right in this assessment as many people would see this as a step too far. However, this is an issue that certainly needs to be discussed widely, not just at a senior level in the gardai and the Department of Justice, but the wider public needs to be involved in any consultation process.

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