Sunday, 23rd September 2018
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Cultural Attitudes

The recent survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper into cultural attitude that exist in the police force made for some interesting reading. One of the main findings in the report was that respondents felt that it was best to keep your head down and if you did think that something was wrong that it was better for yourself if you kept quiet about it.

Another finding was that a significant amount of Gardai felt that it was who you knew and not what you knew that determined how far you advanced in the force. Although none of these particular findings were necessarily true they were felt to have the force of truth behind them.

In a country where we are always trying to look on the positive in life and particularly the Irish experience it is interesting to catch a glimpse into what is not so positive about cultural attitudes in the country. For every positive there is always a negative. We might feel that Ireland is an open, inclusive and friendly society there does have to be some corrective to that where we see that it is not always the case and that there do exist some negatives to living in this country and the results of the Price Waterhouse Cooper survey suggest that there are a significant amount of people who feel this way.

Even though the population in the country has increased in the last number of years Ireland is still a relatively small country and while that can be a great thing in terms of social inclusion it does often give rise to the feeling that it isn't what you know but who you know that matters in a society such as ours when it comes to getting ahead. There are many anecdotal stories about certain industries where it is all about your contacts and perhaps that of your family's which will mean you'll get your foot through the door and maybe get that chance that isn't offered to other people. It is a version of the 'old school tie', the idea that it is who you know that will get you the job rather than your qualifications per se.

Everybody in the country probably has a story where they think that this is the case and it is no wonder that it was one of the significant findings of cultural attitudes in the Gardai found by the report by Price Waterhouse Cooper.

As for the finding that it is better to keep your head down and it being better not to make a fuss as it would only mean bringing down a lot of trouble on your own head then you only have to look at what has happened to the Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe to show why such a feeling would be widespread in such an organisation such as the Gardai. But again it isn't necessarily something that would be unique to the Gardai. Keeping your head down, not making a fuss and covering your back is something that is known to all Irish people, whether they decide to follow that line or not. There is much to be celebrated about Ireland but that doesn't mean that we have to be blind to our faults as well.


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