Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.27 1 May 2020


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A Garda representative groups is renewing its appeal for officers to be able to make their own decisions on the use of face masks during the pandemic.

It's after the Garda watchdog received up to 25 complaints about officers not wearing gloves, masks or observing social-distancing.

Frontline officers have not been instructed by management to wear personal protective equipment on duty - although are provided with protective gear for COVID-19 specific incidents.

Jim Mulligan, president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), says masks are needed for front-line officers.

He said: "Our members should be able to make a dynamic risk assessment themselves, and put a mask on if they feel they need it.

"If you're on a checkpoint, in general when you're waving cars through or just talking to someone from just six foot away, it's fine.

"But if you have to get closer to the car or closer to the person, you should be able to make the decision yourself that [you're] going to put on the mask, just for everybody's safety."

In a statement, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) said it was "disappointed to learn" that complaints were made to GSOC about the non-wearing of masks, as gardaí are not mandated to do so by Garda management.

The association said: "The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors wants to clarify to the public that gardaí do not routinely wear face masks when policing COVID-19 checkpoints and / or on other related duties.

"AGSI is however on the record for advocating for the wearing of masks where physical distancing is not possible."

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

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