Gardai slam new uniform with feedback overwhelmingly 'negative'

Gardai have slammed a new uniform as a representative body revealed feedback has been overwhelmingly "negative".

It comes as Commissioner Drew Harris announcement that a new operational garda uniform for the Force will be purchased shortly.

But the Garda Representative Association has said that gardai are not happy with the piloted uniform.

John O'Keeffe, GRA spokesman, said: "The GRA welcomes the Garda Commissioner’s statement that a new uniform is to be introduced for An Garda Síochána. The GRA have been calling for this for a number of years.

"However, the Association is concerned that any new uniform will be “based” on that which was rolled out to a number of stations across the country over the last few months – a pilot for which the overwhelming feedback from our Members has been negative."

The uniform has been trialled in Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick city, Bunclody Garda Station and also Tallaght Garda Station.

The uniform is a change from the traditional trousers, shirt and tie uniforms to a more comfortable and more appropriate gear.

Mr O'Keeffe added: "GRA members have to wear stab vests, carry batons, pepper spray and handcuffs.

"It therefore behoves the Commissioner to ensure (amongst other aspects of the current uniform) that this equipment is carried safely, comfortably and securely in order that members may carry out their duties effectively.

"Put simply, the garda uniform has also not kept pace with advances in fabric technology and design."

The GRA spokesman explained that his organisation were now calling on Garda Headquarters to listen to gardai.

Mr O'Keeffe added: "A meaningful debate must begin as to whether the intention of the new Garda uniform is to purvey an image of smartness and authority as a symbol of modern Ireland with cap and black shoes — or, a fully functional operational outfit combining high-visibility, anti-stab protection and heavy-duty boots for outdoor duty. Few would disagree with the latter image."

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