An Investigation of Public Attitudes Towards An Garda Síochána and Garda Accountability

Cogley, Brandon (2022) An Investigation of Public Attitudes Towards An Garda Síochána and Garda Accountability. Masters thesis, SETU Waterford.

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Since its inception in the 1920s, An Garda Síochána considered public support crucial to its workings and legitimacy. Therefore, as Gardaí provide protection, service and ultimately work for the public, understanding public attitudes towards the organisation is vital. Over the years, various bodies of accountability were created in response to scandals within An Garda Síochána and investigating public attitudes towards these bodies, most importantly the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), as it is utilised by the public, is crucial in terms of gaining insight into the legitimacy and effectiveness of these accountability mechanisms. Previous literature has shown that the Irish public hold favourable attitudes to An Garda Síochána and towards Garda accountability, however, most studies were conducted by An Garda Síochána and GSOC. Studies conducted independently have contradicted some of these figures (see for example Bohan and Yorke 1987), providing further impetus for the present study. Thus, the aim of this study is to examine public attitudes towards Gardaí and Garda Accountability and understand the importance of demographic variables, in addition to previous police contact, on these attitudes. Utilising an online, quantitative methodology, the current study recruited a sample of N=125 members of the Irish public. Participants responded to surveys which measured their attitudes to Gardaí, attitudes to Garda accountability, perceptions of Gardaí during encounters, and attitudes to Garda enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions. Overall, attitudes to Gardaí were quite ambiguous. Initially, the study found positive attitudes for Gardaí, however, this positivity decreased significantly upon the introduction of negatively phrased questions. The study concludes that attitudes were somewhat ambiguous and shifted depending on the positive or negative phrasing of statements and additionally found that attitudes towards Gardaí and Garda accountability were heavily influenced by previous police contact and demographic variables.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: An Garda Síochána
Departments or Groups: *NONE OF THESE*
Divisions: School of Humanities > Department of Applied Arts
Depositing User: Derek Langford
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2023 14:18
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2023 14:18

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