Published Monday, 21 October 2013
South Wales Police apologised for the 'Operation Irish' gaffe. (© Getty)
Local people claimed it was a throwback to times when Irish people faced discrimination in Britain with Labour MP Paul Flynn, who himself has Irish roots, branding it "an act of Olympian stupidity".
Irish grandmother Lila Haines, who has lived in Wales for 40 years, told Wales Online that she was horrified by the gaffe.
"It's particularly insensitive in a city where it has been estimated that up to 30% of the population are of Irish descent," she said.
"I can't imagine what they were thinking of - such a gaffe is inevitably going to give rise to allegations of racism."
It is blatantly clear and understood how this has caused offence and been deemed insensitive.
Chief Superintendent Belinda Davies
A father whose child attends a primary school visited by police as part of the operation also expressed concern and anger.
"Obviously it's a good idea to educate children about the danger of dog mess. But when I heard the exercise had been named Operation Irish, I thought it was outrageous," he said.
"For a police force to use a name of this kind in such a connection is beyond belief. They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves."
An initial statement from South Wales Police explained that the operational name was selected randomly as part of an administrative function, adding: "It would never be our intention to offend and it is regrettable if that is the case."
However, the Police Commander for Cardiff later went further.
"I accept total responsibility for this error and unreservedly apologise," Chief Superintendent Belinda Davies said.
"The administrative process has been reviewed across the force area and amendments made to prevent this from happening again.
"I have personally addressed this with the officers involved in the operation and they have each given serious consideration to the situation and also offer unreserved apologies for the insensitive name and offence caused."
© UTV News