Hairy issue | 

Dublin gardaí advised to 'admit defeat' in email crackdown on unkempt beards

Email warns that new rule allowing beards should not be taken as an excuse not to shave for a few days

Photo: Stock image

Robin Schiller

Gardaí in Dublin have been told to "admit defeat" and shave their beards if they begin to resemble a "badly watered lawn in a heatwave".

The email containing the grooming advice also said that a new dress code was being used as an excuse to take a break from shaving.

Last July, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris updated the force's uniform policy with several changes, which included allowing members to grow a beard.

Drew Harris

However, eight months on gardaí attached to a roads policing unit in Dublin have been given a stringent warning by their superiors about the appearance of their facial hair.

The email states that a certain degree of latitude was to be expected as members "experimented with this newfound freedom" but that the time has come to "smarten up".

It said that some gardaí "cannot seem to make up their mind whether they want a beard or not" and that they "alternate on a weekly basis from being clean-shaven to having various stages of facial hair".

The email says that "this too is unacceptable" and that the new dress code should not be interpreted as "an excuse to take a break from shaving every now and then."

It continues: "In short, members should decide whether they want a beard or not (or whether their partners allow them to have one or not) and commit to one look or the other."

The correspondence also listed the rules of the dress code, including that a beard or moustache must be neatly trimmed, be between 0.5cm and 2cm in bulk, and grown either while on annual leave or on rest days.

The warning goes on to say that a "sufficiently thorough beard" should not "take an excessively long time to grow" and that guidelines suggest the maximum period is two weeks.

"If after that, the face still resembles a badly watered lawn in a heatwave, then it is time to concede graciously and admit defeat.

"Beards are not for everyone after all, and as the summer months approach and the days get warmer, there are certain advantages to being clean shaven," it concludes.

Gardaí in Kerry were also previously warned about their unkempt and overly long beards.

"There is no Conor McGregor, ZZ Top or Grizzly Adams look-a-like competition on," the directive last September warned.

The updating of the uniform policy last year also took into account varying beliefs and cultural requirements.

Other rules are that there is to be no smoking, chewing gum, or hands in pockets.

The dress code says there must also be no runners or jeans, shirts must be tucked in, top buttons must be closed.

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