G-Force, the official Garda LGBT resource group, spent two days at the Garda Representative Association Annual Conference where they discussed homophobia in the workplace.
Paul Franey, secretary of G-Force spoke at the conference about his personal experience being gay in An Garda Siochana. He called for the organisation to take action to create a more inclusive environment for all.
“What is it about the big tough men who run the police forces across Europe that they are afraid to touch this topic,” he said in a speech at the Malton Hotel, Killarney on April 30. “It’s like it’s toxic. They will take on criminal gangs and terrorists. But they will not acknowledge that there are gays in their police force and that homophobia is a problem.”
Not only did Franey call for support for LGB Garda employees, but also mentioned two other minority groups – non-Irish Gardaí and female employees.
“As a Garda you’ll be abused, threatened, shouted at, spat at and called every name under the sun. Try doing it as a black or Chinese Garda. Add another layer of abuse, a layer that is not just directed at your uniform, but at your ethnicity, your skin colour, something very personal that already sets you apart and marks you as an outsider. Something you will be very aware of.”
Refering to sexism towards Bhan Gardaí he said, “Thankfully much of the old fashioned sexism has been eradicated from our organisation, however, for a number of women, problems remain.
Speaking to the Garda Representative Association, he concluded, “Where the Garda organisation has not fully put in place the structures to ensure people are supported in the workplace, the next line of responsibility lies with you. You have provided us with great support. I would ask that you be proactive from here on and make building a workforce based on respect and understanding even more central to what you do as an organisation.”
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