Belfast Telegraph

Garda Commissioner includes traveller community in ‘increased diversity’ message

Drew Harris was speaking at a Policing Authority meeting.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was speaking at a Policing Authority meeting (Niall Carson/PA)
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was speaking at a Policing Authority meeting (Niall Carson/PA)

By PA Reporter

The Garda Commissioner says he wishes to see members of the traveller community in the Gardai in future.

Drew Harris, speaking on Thursday at a Policing Authority meeting, said the relationship with the travelling community was positive, despite recent controversy.

A serving Garda officer is currently going through disciplinary proceedings after a video was shared on social media of him impersonating and mocking the traveller community.

We as an employer are offering 2,000 jobs to new entrants ... and we want to see that diversity increases, and that obviously includes members of the travelling community Drew Harris, Garda Commissioner

The commissioner and his deputy visited Pavee Point, a traveller representative and advocacy group, earlier this week to apologise on behalf of the force.

“It is very regrettable that we had an incident on social media and is now subject to a disciplinary hearing and I think we acted appropriately dealing with that,” Mr Harris said.

“Subsequent to that, both Deputy John and I visited Pavee Point on Monday.

“We made our own apology for the hurt and insult that it caused to the traveller community.

“We were well-received and the previous relationship that we had stands in good stead.

“We then worked through a process in which the individual Garda visited Pavee point and offered an apology.

“It’s regrettable it happened at all.”

He continued: “The matter remains live as a disciplinary matter.

“Hopefully we can draw a line under this matter.

“On a wider point, we want to maintain the relationship as we launch our diversity strategy.

“We as an employer are offering 2,000 jobs to new entrants into the organisation and we want to see that diversity increases, and that obviously includes members of the travelling community.”

PA

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