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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gardai face turban lawsuit

26 August 2007 By John Burke The Irish Sikh Council is considering mounting a High Court challenge aimed at overturning Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy’s ban on Sikhs wearing their traditional turban while on Garda duty.The Sikh council has also confirmed to The Sunday Business Post that it made contact with representatives of a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer who successfully overturned a similar ban in the New York police force.President of the Sikh council, Harpreet Singh, said the council intended to ‘‘take the necessary steps in the event that there is no change of position from the Garda’’ after a Sikh Garda Reserve recruit was told he could not wearing his turban while on duty.
The wearing of the turban is considered a religious act by members of the Sikh faith.Sikh police officers in Britain, Canada and New York are permitted to wear a turban on duty. Singh said the council was examining the issue from a European law perspective but that it would not launch a legal action until meaningful dialogue had ended.Conroy released a statement late last week re-affirming Garda management’s decision to ban Sikhs from wearing a turban instead of the traditional Garda cap.In a strongly-worded statement, Conroy said he believed a variation to standard Garda uniform and dress, including those with religious symbolism, ‘‘may portray an image of the force that the public would not want’’.The statement outlined that the policy was binding on all members of the force, irrespective of religious beliefs.
The statement outlined that the policy was binding on all members of the force, irrespective of religious beliefs.
http://www.thepost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=IRELAND-qqqm=news-qqqid=26139-qqqx=1.asp

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