Garda drive puts pressure on PSNI’s 50/50 recruitment

As John Laird prepares to take his private members bill (PDF) to remove the requirement for the PSNI to keep to its 50/50 recruitment rule through the Lords for its second reading today, there is a bit of a shake up after the news broke that the Gardai had taken a recruitment stand in Northern Ireland, which the Ulster Unionists argue means both forces are fishing in a limited pool of recruits amongst NI Catholics.

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  • … the news broke that the Gardai had taken a recruitment stand in Northern Ireland, which the Ulster Unionists argue means both forces are fishing in a limited pool of recruits amongst NI Catholics.

    The PSNI have advertised for recruits from the Republic as well.

    Do the Gardaí have a sign over their booth at the fair saying “Catholics Only”? They are looking for recruits, it doesn’t matter what religion, if any, they are.

  • pete

    The guards might not have a sign over their booth at the fair saying catholics only- but you have to speak Irish to get into the guards, which is more or less saying the same thing. How many prods do you know that are fluent in irish?

  • pete

    correction, how many northern prods speak irish. I’m sure our southern cousins speak it very well.

  • fair_deal

    While I wish Lord Laird’s bill every success the UUers approach to the Jobs fair is decidely curious.

    I realise that every opportunity has to be utilised to maintain an issue in the public mind but this stretchs that approach too far and the anlysis it is based upon seems flawed.

  • The Irish language requirement is gone.

  • pete

    I stand corrected. Good to hear the Irish language requirement is gone.

  • but you have to speak Irish to get into the guards

    Hasn’t that been relaxed in order to attract new recruits from immigrant communities? Also, there are a number of secondment arrangements already in place between the GS and the PSNI.

    I don’t think that fluency or even competence in Irish is an issue any more.

  • fair_deal

    Actually could this be an attempt to increase the Protestant representation in the Garda? (No specific stats exist but it is privately admitted there is a problem.) This is something Lord Laird tackled the Garda about.

    What oath does a Garda have to take?

  • George

    Fair_deal,
    I hope you aren’t asking southern Protestants to give up their solicitor and barrister practises to move back down the value chain to please Lord Laird?

    You won’t get much support for that among the brethren down south.

  • Dk

    Fair_Deal said: “Actually could this be an attempt to increase the Protestant representation in the Garda? (No specific stats exist but it is privately admitted there is a problem.) This is something Lord Laird tackled the Garda about.”

    Is this right – Laird wants to end 50:50 recruitment in the PSNI, but introduce it in the Garda?!?!?

  • Nathan

    George

    Your 12.07pm comment gives a distorted and extraordinarily benign view the southern protestant community, and it says alot about yourself than it does about southern protestants.
    [Nathan]

  • Yokel

    I think it’d be useful if they could do staff exchanges. Would have been interesting to see some Garda turning up to raid a pub in North Belfast..

    Slugger-ites keep your eye on this one, there’s been a couple of attempted hijackings and burning’s this morning in North Belfast and if history is anything to go by there may well be street disturbances.

  • BogExile

    This is irrelevant but amused me;

    My father – a dyed in the collarette orangeman – in the face of what he perceived to be a softly-softly approach to hooliganism of any stripe in the province used to mutter, ‘send in the Guards.’

    He nearly had a stroke as the events of last saturday unfolded. He is now casting about the international policing scene to find a constabulary who would meet his policing requirements for Ireland North and South. I have pointed him in the direction of the LAPD website.

    As a Northern unionist I have no problem whatsoever with 50:50 recruitment (provided merit and competency operates within these bandings)I want integrated everything. (Except the Island, of course:)

    BogExile (but its nicer here than there)

  • fair_deal

    DK

    Sorry to disappoint but I don’t think he advocated 50:50 as the solution to the under-representation. As NI’s employment laws and HR practices have shown religious equality in the labour market can be acheived without quotas. (Interestingly in Scotland they managed to achieve it without the same legal regime)

  • George

    Just my experience Nathan. Where I come from and where I grew up, the Gardai were virtually a foreign force and the idea of joining them simply never arose.

    Maybe there are Protestant communities out there where the parents want their children to join An Garda Siochana, I just don’t know of them.

  • Fraggle

    The Garda are not ‘fishing in a limited pool’ since there is a section of potential recruits who would consider a job as a Guard but wouldn’t join the PSNI.

    If I was considering a job in law enforcement myself, I wouldn’t hesitate before applying the Guards but would have to think long and hard before even considering joining the PSNI.

  • Fraggle

    That doesn’t make sense. Thinking ‘long and hard’ means you’ve already started consider it.

  • Nathan

    George,

    You heavily rely upon an unexamined stereotype to reinforce your view that southern prods perceive themselves too high and mighty to make a career for themselves with the Guards. As far as that sort of assumption is concerned, every prod should be ending up in a law firm as of right, merely because they’ve lived through the southern protestant experience. If only your stereotype bore any relation to the truth for those poor downtrodden prods who have to settle for the more menial jobs.

    I don’t believe for a nanosecond that Irish Prods are as homogenous as your stereotype would have us believe – in contrast, I believe them to be as varied as a bowl of pot pourri. While the city of Dublin is over-saturated with the Big House Prod variety, there are also those forgotten ones in the Liberties, Crumlin, Clondalkin, Tallaght and to a lesser extent, Swords. All these areas have small Protestant parishes. Don’t they deserve a mention from time to time, instead of the usual recycled mantra about those well-to-do Prods in places where there is a high concentration of Church of Irelanders e.g. parts of D4, and middle class Greystones, which incidentally is the most Protestant-concentrated town in the Irish Republic according to the 2002 census (11% Church of Ireland population plus 2% for other Protestant denominations)?

    On another thread, I made reference to one of my old man’s well-esteemed acquaintances – Councillor Joe Neville, a self-respecting ‘Fianna Failure’ from a working class estate in Tallaght whose full time employment consists of pulling pints and bombarding the locals with salty peanuts in a pub which he doesn’t have the pleasure of owning. How can you square this up with the prevailing stereotype i.e. that southern prods inevitably end up in positions of eminence, as of right?

    I believe the time is ripe for a member of the Irish intelligentsia to examine working class Prod experiences in greater depth. Wouldn’t it be great to read a bit of literature for a change about the ghastly life of Betty Sinclair, the trade unionist agitator who co-founded the Communist Party of Ireland. Or better still – the intriguing life story of George Plant, the southern protestant exponent of physical force Republicanism, who was sentenced to death in Portlaoise Prison of all places, at DeValera’s say so, in the 1940s. It would sure beat been on the receiving end of all those unexamined stereotypes about Irish Prods i.e. that they all live a conventional, drab and dreary bourgeois existence in their Big Georgian terraces, well insulated from life’s turbulences.

  • God forbid that the Garda would introduce that afront to fairness and intelligence – the 50/50 rule!

    pete

    “As a Northern unionist I have no problem whatsoever with 50:50 recruitment (provided merit and competency operates within these bandings)I want integrated everything. (Except the Island, of course:)”

    As someone to whom merit and fairness should be the key and my unionism is irrelevant here, merit is compromised by “positive” discrimination. I too want real not superficial integrated everything (apart form the island and the churches) but for the sake of any other unionist or not that finds themselves in need of policing services in the Republic of Ireland, I hope that they will employ the best that they can get, regardless of their views on the “Real Presence”.

  • George

    Nathan,
    the working-class Dublin Prod experience is the same as the working class Dublin Catholic experience.

    For both of them, the Gardai were virtually a foreign force and the idea of joining them simply never arose.
    As Brendan Behan said of the Gardai: “lured from the mountains with raw meat”.

    The experiences of Dublin’s working class Protestants are the same as all Dublin’s poor.

    My grandfather worked for a pittance for good old Mr. Goggins for 50 years and was let go at 65 without a penny even though the pension didn’t start until 70. No sympathy, just pauperdom.

    Didn’t stop the south Dublin intelligentsia from congregating there in the 70s to spend their money and discuss how Ireland needed to change.

  • George

    Nathan,
    having stroked that particular chip on my shoulder I think I should add on reflection that you raise a very valid point and it should be investigated.

    This is mere speculation and is totally anecdotal but I’ll throw it out nonetheless.

    Maybe working class southern Irish Protestants are more likely to think of themselves as working class first and Protestant second.

    Middle class Protestants like the exotic difference that their religion affords them over their Catholic peers so are more attached to the idea of perpetuating the stereotype that Protestants end up in positions of influence.

  • Nathan

    George,

    I agree – the Gardai is a big no-no for both working class Catholics and Prods residing in the working class dissident Republican stronghold areas.

    There is a greater degree of respect however, for the role of Peace Commissioner in the working class communities. Joe Neville is one example of a Peace Commissioner who works in liason with the Gardai, even though he’s a working class Church of Irelander. He performs a risky job because the Gardai are always on the prowl; by law they have to obtain the consent of the Peace Commissioner before they can search dissident Republican or drug-dealer premises, not a nice predictament that Joe Neville is placed in if you ask me.

    Maybe working class southern Irish Protestants are more likely to think of themselves as working class first and Protestant second.

    I tend to agree with that view. All the local Church of Ireland representatives in the working class areas mentioned above (Shuna Hutchinson Edgar – Irish Greens, Cllr Robert Dowds – Irish Labour and Cllr Joe Neville – Fianna Fail) are not at all conscious about their religion. Its the bread-and-butter issues that people give a toss about in Tallaght/Clondalkin – stuff like housing, benefits and hospitals. Matters of private conscience don’t even register on the radar, which is a good thing for them because its not nice been reminded that your somehow different, on a daily basis.