The rules around Gardaí having tattoos should be relaxed to help with recruitment.
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris was speaking after three trainees were sent home from the Templemore Garda Training College, because their tattoos did not comply with the rules.
The officers were among 175 who joined up at the Garda College, amid a crisis of staffing in the force.
Minister Harris, who served as Justice Minister during Helen McEntee's maternity leave, told The Hard Shoulder it might be wise to loosen the rules.
"My gut view is they should [relax rules around tattoos]," he said.
"I'm very conscious that this is a matter for the Garda Commissioner.
"I'm very conscious that there is a Garda handbook in place, when somebody signs up to be a Guard and go into Templemore, it does outline certain things.
"I believe the rules around tattoos are clearly outlined in that."
'More Garda numbers'
Minister Harris said more Gardaí and Garda visibility is the priority.
"I also know that at a time [when] we're trying to get more people in the Gardaí, certainly my constituents - whether somebody has a tattoo or not - wouldn't be their primary concern," he said.
"They want to see obviously more Garda numbers.
"I think the GRA comments were sensible in the sense that it makes sense for maybe the rules to be looked at again".
'People have felt unsafe'
MInister Harris said people have felt unsafe in parts of the capital.
"It's absolutely clear that there have been a number of incidents in Dublin lately that have made people feel very unsafe," he said.
"That's why my colleague, Minister McEntee, is working relentlessly to increase Garda numbers in Dublin... and isn't just talking about it, has actually put €10 million worth of a plan to get more Gardaí on the streets in Dublin between now and the Christmas period.
"There's no two ways about it here: people have felt I think very unsafe, on occasion, in parts of the city.
"There have been a number of high profile incidents I think have put a focus on that," he added.
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