SIKHS AND other religious groups are being denied equal employment rights by An Garda Síochána, a Garda conference on diversity has heard.
Dr Jasbir Singh Puri, a prominent member of the 2,500-strong Sikh community in Ireland, said the force was a “closed shop” because of the ban on members wearing turbans.
The annual Garda consultation forum with diverse and minority groups was this year discussing the recently launched Garda diversity strategy.
The force’s “diversity champion”, Garda chief administrative officer John Leamy – the keynote speaker at the conference – said the diversity strategy had taken an intercultural model, where diversity was respected and reflected in the force, and had rejected the assimilation model where newcomers would have to accept the majority status quo.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-news/27855-garda-closed-shop-over-turban-ban.htmlReference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=27855
However, Dr Singh Puri said the Garda had insisted on assimilation in its attitude to the Garda uniform. “Certain communities are being denied a fundamental right of equal employment. If you do not recruit from one community, you are falling short of your commitment to diversity.”
The ban affected not only naturalised Sikhs coming from other countries, but Irish-born Sikh children now. In the British police force, Sikhs were permitted to wear turbans, he said.
The uniform reflected the force’s impartiality, Mr Leamy said. “Part of becoming a member of An Garda Síochána is that you leave your own personal beliefs outside . . . The commissioner wants to be able to deploy his force wherever he sees fit, irrespective of anybody’s background.”
Deputy Commissioner Nacie Rice said the experience of other countries had been considered when deciding not to allow religious clothing. “I can’t give you any confidence there will be a change in the very near future Garda a 'closed shop' over turban ban - The Irish Times - Sat, Nov 21, 2009