Gardaí feel promotion process ‘unfair’, Inspectorate finds

Members of the force feel blame culture exists and best candidates don’t always get jobs

A large number of gardaí feel promotion processes within the force are “unfair” and do not always ensure the best candidates are selected, according to the Garda Inspectorate report.

As part of a wholesale review into the activities of An Garda Síochána, representatives of the Inspectorate carried out interviews with staff of varying ranks who aired a number of grievances about the way the force currently operates.

High among their concerns was an apparent “blame culture” existing among members, and a tendency to quickly resort to disciplinary measures when mistakes are made.

Representatives of the Inspectorate also flagged “poor performance and low productivity of some staff”, and the failure of supervisors to tackle such issues was also raised as a major concern.


Indeed, some supervisors who attempted to tackle these issues “were accused of bullying and this made them reluctant to take action in the future”.

The report states that in many cases gardaí “have recommended their own good work to receive formal recognition”, but it was said that formal commendations are given out on an “ad hoc” basis and that many staff felt the work they do “is not always valued”.

Personnel at all ranks and locations expressed dissatisfaction with equipment and working conditions, and Garda members “consistently raised issues about poor quality uniforms and vehicles” according to the report.

‘Lacks comfort’

Uniforms provided a particular sticking point, with gardaí reporting that the current standard issue clothing “lacks comfort and practicality in the field”, and the report goes on to recommend that the uniform be reviewed for “practicality, suitability and visibility”.

Gardaí weren’t the only complainants, and during consultations with members of the public it was noted that people sometimes received a “very poor or disinterested response” from gardaí when attempting to report an incident.

Furthermore, gardaí themselves identified that members of the force sometimes “lack professionalism and good manners”, and that the rostering regime is impacting negatively on attempts to provide good customer service [term used by the report].

The report, which was compiled by former Minneapolis chief of police Robert Olson, is due to be presented to Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and her Cabinet colleagues next week.

It will also be considered by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan who may or may not choose to enact changes on the basis of the recommendations put forward.