The gardaí say they are standing by their decision to prohibit a Sikh recruit to the Garda Reserve from wearing a turban as part of his uniform.

The decision has been criticised by the Green Party and by the Metropolitan Police Sikh Association in London, who said they were dismayed by it. 

This evening, the garda press office said the Garda Commissioner had directed it to explain the decision.

A statement said that accommodating variations, including those with religious symbolism to the garda uniform, might affect the perception of the force as being impartial.

It said such variations might also present an image, which the Commissioner felt the public would not want.

The statement said the decision was not in any way racist, and that An Garda Siochana has made many advancements, including changing entry requirements to encourage different cultures to qualify for membership.

The President of the Irish Sikh Council, Harpreet Singh has said the organisation is very disappointed with the decision.

Harpreet Singh said that tonight's statement on behalf of the garda commissioner was particularly disappointing given the argument put forward by the Council regarding the importance and significance of the turban to the Sikh community.

He said the Council will meet with the Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy next week and remains hopeful that the matter will be resolved in their favour.

The President of the Irish Sikh Council, Harpreet Singh, has said the organisation is very disappointed with the decision of An Garda Síochána to ban the turban as part of the uniform.

Mr Singh said that tonight's statement on behalf of the garda commissioner was particularly disappointing given the argument put forward by the Council regarding the importance and significance of the turban to the Sikh community.

He said the Council will meet with the Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy next week and remains hopeful that the matter will be resolved in their favour.