There are over 130 delegates from throughout Europe attending. They’ve visited Áras and Uachtaráin and been given a reception by President Higgins. The Minister for Justice and Law Reform Alan Shatter opened the conference and gave a speech of welcome and recognition , including a committment to introduce legislation providing rights for children of civil partners. The Garda Commissioner made an address of welcome also.
Academics from DCU have published very interesting research on the experiences of LGB gardai.
The conference is examining concerns of lgb police officers and also policing issues regarding lgb community and people.
All this is excellent. The Gardai have previously been recognised for their commitment and progress as an employer
However word is about for the past few days that on Saturday at the Dublin Pride march the only delegates not marching in uniform will be from An Garda Siochana. The Garda Commissioner has opposed it. Many Foreign officers will be proudly marching in full uniform (despite it is said the opposition of the Commissioner).
It is now quite normal in pride celebrations for LGBT police officers to march in uniform – indeed non LGBT officers and Chief Constables have also marched in many UK Pride marches as a message of solidarity to the communities they police. The EPGA have information on their website on the history of the matter.
I’ve asked the Garda Press Office for comment. Given the huge good will between the LGBT community and the Garda Siochana which has been built up ofver the last decade and the support that the Garda management have given to lgb officers, the decision to stop LGB Gardai marching in uniform is a massive own goal. There is still time for Commissioner Callinan to change his mind. If these Gardai can wear their uniforms in Áras an Uachtaráin why can’t they wear them walking down O’Connell Street?
In his speech at the conference yesterday Commissioner Callinan said
It is important therefore that we recognise that there is a link between our internal culture and treatment of each other in the work place and the quality and nature of the service we provide to the community. Our internal values can transfer to and impact on the way we interact externally.
The Garda Press Office replied
Members of An Garda Síochána are generally only permitted to wear uniform while on duty.
However, in recognition of the significance of the hosting of the European Gay Police Association conference in Dublin for the first time, members attending the conference and a reception at Aras an Uachtarain to mark the occasion are doing so in uniform.
So that’s no march then. Don’t expect to see Gardai ever march in uniform in St Patricks Day Parades in NY any more either eh? Ah there’s that pig again flying high.