Rules prohibiting members of the Gardaí from having tattoos are "archaic" and "discriminatory", according to a former Garda sergeant.
Last week, three trainee members of An Garda Siochána were sent home from Templemore until they removed their tattoos.
It is understood the tattoos were mostly on the lower arms of the trainee Gardaí and would have been visible to members of the public if they were wearing short sleeve uniform shirts.
The officers were among 175 who joined up at the Garda College, amid a crisis of staffing in the force.
Gardaí are not permitted to wear jeans or running shoes, grow their beards, smoke in public, chew gum, have their hands in their pockets or have visible tattoos.
Speaking to Lunchtime Live, Former Garda Sergeant Christy Galligan said some of the dress code policies are "archaic".
"At this present moment, the Gardaí have other issues rather than worrying about people's tattoos," he said.
"I don't think tattoos inhibit somebody from being a good policeman or a good policewoman."
"We're living in a modern society, most people have tattoos nowadays."
Sergeant Galligan said the law discriminates against people from cultures where tattoos are symbolic.
"If you're from New Zealand or the Hawaiian Islands – they sport tattoos, would you discriminate against somebody who, as part of the ethos or religion or culture, they have tattoos on their arms?" he said.
Sergeant Galligan said he thought it was "antiquated" to suggest that tattoos are linked to a level of professionalism.
"If you look at the policing abroad in the UK or the United States – most places in the world now – you see a lot of police personnel sporting tattoos," he said.
"The tattoos have to be appropriate ... you can't have the ones you see on people's necks or hands.
"As long as we're not offensive or not offending anybody, I don't see what our problem is.
"We're in the modern society, and we have to move on."
One texter said: "Tattoos are horrible and disgusting looking, but they are not a crime, so there should be no issue with the Guards having them."
"Maybe the Guards with tattoos could work undercover in drug gangs," they continued. "They blend in better."
Sergeant Galligan said it could be a "great idea" to use tattooed Gardaí for undercover work.
"We're talking about a multicultural society in this present era, and we're inviting people from different cultures to join the police force," he said.
"If we're going to discriminate against people from all walks of life from different cultures as well, we're not going to have too many applicants."
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