Roche calls for ‘visible’ recruitment of LGBT members
A Cork campaigner for gay rights has called on the Garda Síochána to be more active in recruiting members of the gay and lesbian communities. Dave Roche of Cork Gay Community Development Project said that the emergency services “need to reflect the communities they serve”.
“The police force is there to serve and protect, and it also needs to represent the citizens. For them to do that, there needs to be a highly visible gay and lesbian recruitment, reflecting Irish culture. It should be a requirement of all state agencies,” he said.
Mr Roche added that the Garda Síochána has traditionally been a “masculine” service. “Even looking at the word ‘ban garda’, there was a definite masculine element to the gardaí, so I’m sure there is a stigma attached to being gay within the force,” he said.
This comes as a report by Dr Vera Sheridan and Dr Mel Duffy from Dublin City University was launched yesterday, Thursday, outlining the experiences of the country’s lesbian, gay and bisexual gardaí. The study, released at the sixth annual European Gay Police Association Conference highlighted that “strong leadership” is needed for a change in the “institutional culture” of the Garda Siochána, so gardaí do not have to “endure half-lived, closeted lives in the workplace, as they serve their communities”.
Mr Roche stated that in general, there has been “very positive interaction” between the gardaí and members of the LGBT communities. He added that the existence of G-Force- the garda gay, lesbian and bisexual employee resource group- also indicated that the gardaí were taking “steps in the right direction”.
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