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Thread: Gardai to allow turbans, hijabs.

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    International Prospect osarusan's Avatar
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    Gardai consider allowing turbans, hijabs to attract staff.

    https://www.rte.ie/news/2019/0404/10...a_recruitment/

    In order to encourage candidates from minority communities, An Garda Síochána says it is to consider alterations to the garda uniform to take into account religious and ethnic requirements.

    These will be subject to operational, health and safety obligations, it says.

    In future, it is to allow members of the Sikh community to wear turbans and Muslims to wear hijabs. It says it has identified these as a major barrier to some people becoming a garda.

    Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said the force needs to become more diverse to properly reflect the society it serves and it is focusing on people who might not have previously considered a career in the police.
    I don't see a problem with this myself, as long as their religion doesn't play limiting role in their ability to do the job, but that's the same for any religion. Plenty of disagreement online though.

    My first thought was that neither headwear would offer the same protection that the old domed hard hat would provide*, but I am not actually sure whether Irish police have ever worn those anyway.

    *unless there are specially designed, reinforced ones for the police to wear.
    Last edited by osarusan; 04/04/2019 at 1:12 PM.

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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    They say this has been done in other countries and the sky didn't fall, so sure why not. Think Garda only wear hard hats for riots/ARU stuff right? Other than that it's a cap of some kind, if even that.

    The reality behind this debate is probably more about whether non-citizens should be allowed to become Garda at all, right now the eligibility rules, regards nationality, are actually not all that strict:

    (i) Be a national of a European Union Member State; or


    (ii) Be a national of a European Economic Area State or the Swiss Confederation; or


    (iii) Be a Refugee under the Refugee Act, 1996; or


    (iv) Have had a period of one years' continuous residence in the State on the closing date of
    the advertisement for the competition for the vacancy to which the admission relates, and
    during the eight years immediately preceding that period, has had a total residence in the


    State amounting to four years; or


    (v) Has been granted subsidiary protection, or is a family member of such a person, in
    compliance with the Admissions and Appointments Regulations 2013.
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    Modern times, and makes sense. Question though: would a Sikh garda be allowed to carry a kirpan? Even a blunt, purely ceremonial one?
    Hello, hello? What's going on? What's all this shouting, we'll have no trouble here!
    - E Tattsyrup.

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    Director dahamsta's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the Guards aren't allowed to carry blunts, sorry.

    What's a kirpan? Go on, save me the google.

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    Seasoned Pro CraftyToePoke's Avatar
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    Knife / dagger with a religious meaning for Sikh people.

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    Yeah, it's one of their five key aspects of their faith. Carrying a knife to be ready to defend the weak and oppressed.
    Hello, hello? What's going on? What's all this shouting, we'll have no trouble here!
    - E Tattsyrup.

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    Director dahamsta's Avatar
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    [EDIT: I should have made it clear that this comment was generally about turbans, hijabs and crucifixes, not the kirpan in particular.]

    Thanks. I'm not sure how I feel about this TBH. I don't like any crossover between church and state, and this is crossover IMHO. Yes, I understand that the turban is integral to the Sikh faith, but when it comes to things like this, I think religion should move on, not the rest of us.

    And for the record, I would be equally annoyed by a crucifix on display. It's not a racist or sectarian thing. (I don't like religion personally, but I accept that people feel the need to subscribe to it. In their own time and space.)
    Last edited by dahamsta; 12/04/2019 at 11:30 AM.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    I don't see the need to bring religion into that question to be honest.

    Assuming EG's summary is correct (and I've no reason to doubt it), then carrying a mad big knife around with you is simply not part of our culture. In fact, it's illegal here. So it shouldn't be allowed. Simple as that.

    If you feel you absolutely have to carry a big knife around with you for religious reasons, then this is not the country for you. I don't see why that needs to be a controversial opinion. People will bleat "What about diversity?", but the problem with diversity is that it can only lead to the exact opposite of diversity - ie world looking the exact same wherever you turn. That would be a huge cultural loss, I think.

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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    The carrying of knifes is illegal in Ireland without "reasonable excuse" (work, recreation, etc) already so as it stands Sikh members of the Garda woulds not be permitted to carry the kirpan (at least not openly, though perhaps this defeats the intention). Wiki tells me they've been banned in other western countries too, so its not like Ireland would be outside the Pale in refusing such things.

    I'm given to understand that a kirpan can actually be quite small in practise, to the point that it might be useless as a weapon, and it's fair to say that the law is not strictly applied in the case of people carrying swiss army knives on a key ring and the like. But regardless, there must be a distinction between a tradition like the turban and a tradition like carrying a weapon, even a blunt, ceremonial one. Whatever the religious meaning and intention of the latter, a knife is a knife, and I wouldn't want any member of the police force carrying one.
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    I have a notion that the legal limit on carrying knives is the length between your thumb and forefinger. If the blade is bigger than that, it's illegal.

    Don't know if that's true or just an urban myth, but it would certainly allow for a small utility Swiss Army knife as you say.

    The question your post raises is "Is religion/culture a reasonable excuse?" I'd say no. I think many would say yes.

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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    I can't find a law in Ireland relevant to knives that makes exceptions based on length, but am open to correction. The Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act is here: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1.../en/print#sec9
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    International Prospect osarusan's Avatar
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    Are Sikhs carrying around their Kirpan as they go about their everyday life here? I'd guess not.

    I have no problem with headwear that doesn't impede their ability to do their duties or communicate with the public, but a Kirpan is something that would have no practical function and could easily be used against them in a bad situation, even a blunt one.

    I read somewhere that UK Sikh police officers have some kind of protective headpiece under their turbans. I wonder how it works for hijabs, if there is some kind of protection there too.
    Last edited by osarusan; 11/04/2019 at 2:17 PM.

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    I think it’s notable that the instant the gaurds (an almost exclusively white organization) mentions the notion that people of different color and background will be encouraged and welcomed into a force that needs a drastic overhaul on that and many other fronts,the media seize on this carrying of knives nonsense as some massive insurmountable problem.Its just right-wing fear mongering.Whats their solution?You can only join if you completely abandon your identity? Don’t like it? Go back to where you came from.The obvious answer is simple and it’s this: in a mature progressive and diverse country, we’ll find a way.....the Daily Mail et al needn’t concern themselves.

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    First Team The Fly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osarusan View Post
    https://www.rte.ie/news/2019/0404/10...a_recruitment/

    I don't see a problem with this myself, as long as their religion doesn't play limiting role in their ability to do the job, but that's the same for any religion. Plenty of disagreement online though.
    One must always be sceptical when using opinions on social media and forums as a barometer for wider public opinion. That said I always find it interesting that Irish online reaction to particular news items, like this one for example, contains significant, and unabashed, negative comment.

    An obvious reason for that, as in this instance, is the relative newness of such developments to Ireland. However, I also think it offers a glimpse of a fundamentally different predisposition, for want of a better term, which exists here and by extension why it will be much harder for the same kind of 'politically correct' attitudes seen elsewhere to gain just the same sort of traction or foothold on these shores.

    Quote Originally Posted by osarusan View Post
    My first thought was that neither headwear would offer the same protection that the old domed hard hat would provide*, but I am not actually sure whether Irish police have ever worn those anyway.

    *unless there are specially designed, reinforced ones for the police to wear.
    Turban wearing Sikhs have an exemption from wearing motorcycle helmets and head protection in the workplace under UK law. I think the former also applies under Irish law, but I'm not sure on the latter. The workplace is defined quite broadly in the British legislation but there is an exception for particularly dangerous or hazardous tasks, like say a firefighter entering a burning building.
    Last edited by The Fly; 12/04/2019 at 2:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    If you feel you absolutely have to carry a big knife around with you for religious reasons, then this is not the country for you. I don't see why that needs to be a controversial opinion. People will bleat "What about diversity?", but the problem with diversity is that it can only lead to the exact opposite of diversity - ie world looking the exact same wherever you turn. That would be a huge cultural loss, I think.
    To quote T. Sowell - "Diversity is the key word among advocates of multiculturalism. Sweeping claims for the benefits of demographic and cultural diversity...have prevailed without a shred of evidence being asked for or given."
    Last edited by The Fly; 12/04/2019 at 1:52 AM.

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    Reserves Fizzer's Avatar
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    Are you not an ‘advocate for multiculturalism’ Fly? Is there an alternative word to ‘diversity’ that’s more palatable for you?

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    I don’t see the knife an insurmountable issue at all. But it’s a fair question for society to ask and debate and it’s reasonable to expect people to come down on either side of the debate. Totally pointless histrionics there Fizzer saying that such debate amounts to right-wing fear mongering and that by asking such questions and potentially not allowing it (irrespective of safety issues or BFORs) that we are asking the sikhs to “completely abandon their identity”.

    Personally, I love the idea of a more representative workforce for AGS and other public agencies. I think visible minorities should be proportionally represented in the workplace, in general, and as long as they are competent obviously. Would be great to see more sikhs, blacks and others in these institutions, including in Canada where I live, one of the most diverse countries in the world.

    Multiculturalism a fine aspiration but in practice requires significant two way effort in order to be successful, constructive and sustainable. I think the compatibility - or not - of distinct cultures has to be a key consideration of a mature approach to societal diversification and there also has to be a line drawn in the sand of how far the host is willing to go in the dilution of its own culture in pursuit of multiculturalism. I don’t think that is a “right wing” position to take. Conservative, sure, but not “right wing” in the way that is implied these days by the use of that term.

    History and an examination of other countries experiences tell us repeatedly that multiculturalism is not an easy thing to achieve or balance to strike and this does beg the question that The Fly asks indirectly - what is the value proposition?

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    Banned. Children Banned. Grandchildren Banned. 3 Months. Charlie Darwin's Avatar
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    I'm fairly sure Irish sikhs don't carry kirpans. It's purely symbolic and they're allowed to substitute it for something not resembling a knife.

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    Director dahamsta's Avatar
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    For the record, my comment wasn't about the kirpan, it was about turbans, hijabs, and of course our own local favourite, the crucifix.

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    International Prospect osarusan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fly View Post
    One must always be sceptical when using opinions on social media and forums as a barometer for wider public opinion. That said I always find it interesting that Irish online reaction to particular news items, like this one for example, contains significant, and unabashed, negative comment.

    An obvious reason for that, as in this instance, is the relative newness of such developments to Ireland. However, I also think it offers a glimpse of a fundamentally different predisposition, for want of a better term, which exists here and by extension why it will be much harder for the same kind of 'politically correct' attitudes seen elsewhere to gain just the same sort of traction or foothold on these shores.
    I think a more simple explanation is that people just love having a good whinge online. And that's by no means limited to Ireland.

    I don't think there is a particularly different disposition either, to be honest. I'd say it's just the newness of it all.

    However, maybe you are right. Politically we are fairly central, and even in terms of media, we are fairly central. The shrill-voiced loons of the left and right that get popular in other countries haven't made much inroads here. I can see a few trying, like Rowan Croft, who is trying to position himself as a lone voice of sanity in a PC-crazy Soros-controlled world, but he's dismissed as the tinfoil hat salesman he is.

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