Swearing on the Christian Bible


Sir, – Heather Abrahamson (Letters, April 8th) objects to the use of the Christian Bible to swear in new members of the Garda Reserve. Back in 1957 I was commissioned an officer in the FCA. At the ceremony, in Cathal Brugha barracks, there were 25 of us, 24 Catholics and one Jew. The 24 marched up in groups, saluted the flag, bared our heads, took up the Bible and swore the oath of allegiance. The Jewish officer marched up, saluted the flag, left his cap on, took up the Jewish holy book and swore the oath.

I am sure that today the same applies: one can swear on whatever book is holy to the religion of which one is a member, be it the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita or any other. So Ms Abrahamson can rest easy. I do not think that the State is trying to force any particular religion down the throats of anybody. Yours, etc,


Essenwood Road,


South Africa

Sir, – What, I wonder, does your front page photograph (April 5th) of the Garda Reserve graduation ceremony say about equality in our 21st century Irish society?

A deserved pat on the back for racial and gender equality, it would seem, and a smack in the face for the non-religious. Yours, etc,



Humanist Association

of Ireland,

Royal Terrace West,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin

Sir,- Regarding the photograph on Saturday of the new gardaí holding aloft what appeared to be Government-issued Bibles, would it not be more in keeping with modern society and their role in it if they were swearing on the Constitution? Yours, etc,





Co Cork