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AEJ Ireland April 2015We have undergone significant change in recent years and that change is ongoing.

We have a police service that is not simply based in communities around the country, but is of them. This close connection with communities is the envy of police services around the world. We are the true definition of a decentralised organisation, with employees interacting with citizens from every corner and county throughout the land.

We have a proud record of protecting this country from sophisticated subversive organisations that were, and some still are, determined to inflict anarchy, mayhem and murder on our people with the aim of destroying the democratic foundations of this State.

We have dismantled vicious organised crime gangs who don’t care about the trail of destruction and despair they leave behind in the communities that they push their drugs in.

The overwhelming majority of Gardai – that sense of pride, of collegiality, of being ready to contribute that we got when we tossed our caps in the air in Templemore the day we graduated —  never goes away. It never goes away, the sense of belonging to something special, something that matters.

Very few organisations can lay claim to the wide and varying level of engagement to which we can lay claim. That level of engagement with each and every community throughout the land allows us to rebuild trust. Without that trust, our job’s impossible.

We will continue to build on what is good in our culture – and there’s much that’s good about our culture – our esprit de corps, our community-ethos, our dedication to duty and public service that are essential to our ability to delivering policing – while recognising and exorcising the negative elements of that culture – our insularity, our deafness to external criticism, and our instinctive rejection of internal dissent.

We are ready to step up to becoming a human rights centred world-class police service.

We have continued to track the public’s sentiment towards An Garda Síochána. This will enable us to be much more reactive to the needs of the public.

Our mission is to stand between the citizen and chaos, guarding the peace that is essential to civilised living.

We’re out on the streets, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We’re stopped by tourists, we’re stopped for a chat, and we’re stopped by those in distress. We’re in constant and varied interaction with the public, all day, every day.

It is critical that we strike the right balance between continuity and change so that what is good about An Garda Síochána is retained, and what is not is rectified.

And that we never lose sight of the wider goal, which is to build a police service for Ireland which is quite simply the best of its kind in the world.