Ireland’s police (Gardai) will allow the wearing of hijabs and turbans as part of a drive to recruit more members from ethnic and minority communities.
Under a new recruitment campaign, members of Ireland’s minority communities will be encouraged to join the police as changes to the uniform will take into account religious considerations and requirements.
“In order to encourage candidates from minority communities, An Garda Síochána will consider alterations to the Garda uniform to take account of religious and ethnic requirements subject to operational, and health and safety obligations” a statement by the police said.
“For example, An Garda Síochána is to allow the wearing of the turban for members of the Sikh community and the hijab for members of the Muslim community. An Garda Síochána has identified such matters as a major barrier to some people considering becoming a Garda member,” it added.
This approach, according to the Gardai, is in line with those adopted by the police services of the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well as the NYPD in New York, USA.
"I very much welcome the Commissioner’s decision to facilitate alterations to the Garda uniform on request to accommodate religious and ethnic diversity” Irish broadcaster RTE quoted Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan as saying.
"An Garda Síochána is there to serve all members of our society so it is important for it to reflect the welcome and increasing diversity of Irish life. I would urge members of our minority and new communities to consider applying as Ireland needs increased workforce diversity in all our public services” he added.
Although the police force is predominantly white with most of its members from an Irish Catholic background, in recent years there has been an increase in diversification, with the rising numbers of recruits from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.