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‘Policing’ a pandemic: Garda wellbeing and COVID-19

  • L. Rooney (a1) (a2) and F. McNicholas (a1) (a3) (a4) (a5)


In response to the global pandemic COVID-19, the Irish government has called upon the Garda Síochána to implement an unparalleled mode of policing to mitigate and contain the spread of the Coronavirus. Studies investigating smaller scale epidemics, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), indicate that staff at the frontlines of an outbreak are exposed to an insuperable amount of stress and experience increased psychological morbidities as a result. Furthermore, research not only indicates that heighted levels of psychological distress are an occupational hazard associated with the law enforcement profession, but that members of the Garda Síochána feel their mental health needs are largely unmet by their organisation. Given the pandemic’s propensity to expose officers to indeterminate echelons of physical and psychological threat; there has never been a more appropriate time to explore the potential burdens associated with ‘policing’ a pandemic, question the governments capacity to address the psychological support needs of frontline professionals, and plan future research for best practice.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: L Rooney, Department of Child & Adolescent psychiatry, UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science, University College Dublin, Belfield Campus, Dublin 2, Ireland. (Email:


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‘Policing’ a pandemic: Garda wellbeing and COVID-19

  • L. Rooney (a1) (a2) and F. McNicholas (a1) (a3) (a4) (a5)


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