Dear Minster for State,
In relation to the question of Sikhs and the Garda uniform, I am undecided. I believe that the Gardai should remain neutral in areas of faith but at the same time, the force must represent our community in it's entirety and diversity. I also believe that this question is just one of many that this nation must answer in the years to come. I believe that there is no easy answer. I believe that cool heads and smart people are needed now. I believe that we should look abroad and take advantage of the fact that this issue has run out in other counties already and we should look at how different nations tried to deal with. I don't believe that this is a problem but an opportunity for Ireland to embrace different cultures. I believe that integration is a two-way process and the onus doesn't just lie on "people who come here."
If we are to take integration seriously, people who come here must understand our way of doing things. When the President and Ministers travel to the middle-east, they accept cultural requirements of the country and the culture they are operating in. It is a vice versa situation with regard to Ireland.
Integration doesn't just concern "people who come here." For example, a child born in Ireland of Sikh parents in an Irish citizen, yet he or she may well be unrepresented by his or her police force.
Can you please define, "our way of doing things"?
When the President and Ministers travel to the middle-east, they do so to visit. If they were to stay, I wonder would they give up their right to practise their faith.
Are you likening our government to the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar? And why did you use the middle-east as an example? Sikhs are mostly from Punjab, North America and England.
Like I said, I am undecided about this issue re the Garda uniform. But I would advise you, the man in charge of integration, to think longer and harder before you speak on his issue.
John M Rogers.