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 Feeling the pressure…Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, attending The Garda Representative Association Annual Delegate Conference in Killarney. Photo:Valerie O’Sullivan
Feeling the pressure…Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, attending The Garda Representative Association Annual Delegate Conference in Killarney. Photo:Valerie O’Sullivan
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Gardaí expected to deliver more while being "insufficiently trained”

Rank and file gardaí have told the Minister for Justice that they are expected to deliver an improved service while being “ill-equipped and insufficiently trained”.

The message was delivered on behalf of the Garda Representative Association to Minister Charlie Flanagan by association president Jim Mulligan at the GRA conference in Killarney today.

The conference is being attended by delegates from Cork’s three garda divisions and from divisions across the country.

Addressing Minister Flanagan, Garda Mulligan said: “Being a police officer in 2019 places huge responsibilities on the shoulders of GRA members. It requires highly diverse and ever-evolving skill sets. We talk a lot about training and equipment in this Association. And that’s the reason why."

"Gardaí, sometimes working in appalling accommodation, have been expected to deliver improved policing outcomes while ill-equipped and insufficiently trained.” 

He said gardaí want to receive continuous professional development training as new practices and legislation are introduced.

“We want to work in buildings and vehicles that are safe; and equipped with the technology needed to carry out the job of protecting our citizens effectively and transparently If the modern police force we all aspire to be part of, is to become a reality, this is the change that’s needed.”

In response, Minister Flanagan said ongoing training of gardaí “must be prioritised, especially on new initiatives and complex legislation”.

He continued: “There are various approaches depending on the issues involved and obviously better technology can assist in rolling this out to large numbers of people. But, in certain circumstances, detailed training is needed and the recent approach in relation to the new Domestic Abuse provisions is a good example of this."

"I understand that training was delivered by an international expert to members of the Divisional Protective Services Units and supervisors with the Domestic Abuse portfolio and I very much welcome this.” 

Meanwhile, Minister Flanagan appealed to the GRA members to sign up to the Garda Code of Ethics. The chair of the Policing Authority, Josephine Feehily, recently expressed concern that more than half of gardaí have not signed up to the Code, which was introduced two years ago.

He said: “I believe it would simply mean, that as you go about your daily policing duties, protecting the vulnerable and implementing the laws of the land, you would be openly assuring the Irish people that you do so ethically. So I hope that you, as individual Garda members, and the GRA as an Association, will address any issues that you may have that have been causing a delay to the signing of the Code of Ethics.”