The chairman of the Policing Authority has denied that the 'hands of the Guards would be tied' under new proposals to record data around stop and search.
The authority has made a recommendation to the Oireachtas Justice Committee that officers should be required to record the ethnicity, age and gender of people who are stopped and searched.
Bob Collins is chairman of the Policing Authority, and told Newstalk Breakfast this is about keeping up with a modern Ireland.
"We don't know enough about the composition of the people who are stopped and searched.
"I think it's really important for the Garda Síochána for themselves that they know, I think it's important for the public that they know and I think it's important obviously for individuals or for communities that they have a fuller understanding.
"Ireland is an increasingly diverse population, made up of a variety of ethnicities and nationalities of a kind that was probably inconceivable even 15 years ago.
"International experience tell us that there isn't always a strict proportionality, a real balance, in the numbers of people who are stopped and searched."
He says there are other issues besides gender, ethnicity and age.
"How people dress, how people appear shouldn't make them more likely to be stopped and searched".
Asked if this may not hinder the Gardaí - in terms of, for example, the proportionality of crimes carried out by young men as opposed to middle-aged women - Mr Collins says this is not a concern.
"You're establishing a completely, if I may say so, non-sensical and unrealistic dichotomy between a young man and a 60-year-old woman.
"There's no remote suggestion that the hands of the Guards should be tied in this respect.
"The question is how do we record the numbers of people who are stopped and searched?
"To stop and search somebody, whoever they are - whatever age, whatever gender, whatever ethnicity - is an infringement of the normal liberty that people enjoy to walk on the streets.
"It is perfectly proper that the Guards should be able to do that; and the notion that this is in some way an attempt to stop them - or to require that they stop an equal number of - in your category - young men and 60-year-old women is not what this is about.
"It's about understanding how we relate to the people in a society whose composition is changing more rapidly than the composition of An Garda Síochána is changing."
And Mr Collins says any change would have to be made on a legal basis.
"I think that the position in relation to An Garda Síochána is that the legal basis does not exist at the moment.
"And there is a legal question as to whether it is proper and valid, appropriate, permissible to record that information.
"It's necessary that the Garda Síochána knows the balance, the composition of the people with whom they come in contact."