Gardaí must embrace professionalism, AGSI conference told

General Secretary tells members that Force must gain public confidence

An Garda Síochána must fully embrace a strategy to achieve further professionalism if it is to meet public expectations and retain public confidence, according to Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors General Secretary (AGSI), John Redmond.

Mr Redmond told this year’s AGSI annual conference that everyone within the AGSI recognised the need for further professionalism in order to maintain the Force’s reputation in terms of public expectation, transparency and accountability.

“We need to meet constantly shifting public expectations,” said Mr Redmond, adding that the Government-commissioned review of the force by the Garda Inspectorate must be open to the public.

“The reputation of An Garda Síochána is vitally important. Our values, culture and ethics are paramount to ensure we are acceptable’ in the public mind-set,” said Mr Redmond in his address to the second day of the conference in Killarney.


“An Garda Síochána must inspire confidence in the public as that is the key to success and effectiveness in delivering the service. The Integrity of the corporate Organisation is under scrutiny.

We must all do the right thing all the time, whether anyone is looking or not - but you know what - if An Garda Síochána must change, so be it - then let’s shine the torch into all aspects of the organisation and let all of society have say.

Mr Redmond told the 150 delegates that AGSI remained concerned over the Government’s decision to ask the Garda Inspectorate to carry out a review of the Garda. Mr Redmond said the Garda Inspectorate will examine and report on the structure, organisation and staffing of the Force as well as the deployment of gardaí and civilian staff as part of the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA).

“While accepting that the Inspectorate is appointed by Government under Statute to carry out its work in reviewing An Garda Síochána, we remain concerned regarding the processes involved in engaging the Inspectorate in the HRA review,” he said.

“The reason for this is that the Inspectorate is charged - in the Garda Act- with reporting directly to the Minister. Therefore, an anomaly presents itself. How will AGSI views be incorporated within the Inspectorate report in this instance?

Mr Redmond said that AGSI had discussions with the Inspectorate on the issue and they accepted that those involved in the Inspectorate were all “reasonable and honourable people” who recognised the dilemma facing AGSI members.

The Inspectorate had committed to a full review, comprehensive exploration of issues relating to structure, organisation and staffing and it also committed to including the views of AGSI individual representatives and AGSI at a national level in its review.

Mr Redmond also re-iterated AGSI support for the idea of a Garda Authority to oversee the operation of the force and he pointed out that AGSI had been calling for such an authority for many years. “We have all seen the effect of direct political influence on the day to day running of An Garda Síochána,” said Mr Redmond to loud applause from delegates who represent some 2,000 middle ranking gardaí.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times