Time to overhaul Garda training
Sir, – Television reports on the retirement of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan included footage of Garda recruits in Templemore doing “square-bashing” and marching, and they were not doing this very well.
One of the changes urgently needed to transform An Garda Síochána, and end a culture of inappropriate loyalty, is to end such ridiculous military training for gardaí.
Square-bashing and repetitive military drilling is designed to virtually brainwash soldiers into unquestionably obeying orders, regardless of how ridiculous and reckless such orders may be.
The litany of scandals that have almost destroyed the reputation and performance of An Garda Síochána are probably due significantly to the training and culture gardaí are exposed to during their training in Templemore. Some gardaí have argued that the reason for the disasters such as the hugely exaggerated number of breathalyser tests was inadequate training and supervision.
Yet gardaí receive two years of training in Templemore, and the education levels for entry for recruits are also high. Therefore the quality of the training received and the culture instilled in Templemore is likely a major part of the problem.
Ending inappropriate training such as square-bashing and encouraging gardaí to think for themselves and behave ethically at all times is the way forward. – Yours, etc,