Tag Archives: An Garda Síochána

Arrest that man.

John Gallagher writes:

Crime photojournalist mugs Mick Wallace for a fashion crime and implies he’s a rambling drunk…

Good times.

From top: Frederick Street removal: Mick Wallace; Joan Collins; Claire Daly and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan in the Dáil today.

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

Further to the eviction of housing activists from a vacant property at North Frederick Street last week…

Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan who authorised members of An Garda Síochána – who wore fire retardant hoods – to attend the eviction.

Joan Collins, also an Independents 4 Change TD, asked Mr Flanagan on what basis were the gardai asked to attend.

Ms Collins referred to the mater as “very, very sinister”.

Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly then said:

I think we have to be very conscious that this incident has set back public confidence in An Garda Síochána considerably. That’s actually my starting point on this issue.

We have, at the backdrop, an unprecedented housing crisis. Where people are homeless, families are homeless. And that the Garda organisation, whose motto is supposed to be ‘to protect and serve’, rallies around to carry out an eviction – resonates really badly with the Irish public and you can call it politically with a small ‘p’.

It was lunacy whoever made the call.

“And, like Deputy Wallace, I don’t believe it was the Commissioner [Drew Harris].

“The minister says the gardai were only upholding the law. Well my neighbour’s house was broken into and they called the guards and they didn’t’ see one for love nor money. That’s their job, as well.

“They chose to take sides in this incident. There was no signal that they were going to be public order problems of the scale that merited masks and balaclavas and all this type of carry-on and palaver which was really intimidatory.

“And it does deserve an investigation. It particularly deserves and investigation, given that concrete evidence has been produced that shows that the security firm were breaching the law and yet the perception was that the gardai were there to protect them and not actually the public.”

Mr Flanagan, in his response, said:

“I would reiterate again, that the gardai present faced a most difficult task, managing protest, in enforcing the law. There was a matter of abuse, including racial abuse, online threats and intimidation, came to light at the weekend.

“Such threats are utterly unacceptable, rightly being investigated. Gardai work on our behalf. They need support from the public, not intimidation, not abuse. As I’ve said Commissioner Harris has made a statement in relation to the protest. I understand he’s requested a report from Assistant Commissioner DMR, to see what lessons can be learned from the event.

“I can assure the house my department continues to work closely with all stakeholders including An Garda Síochána, to further enhance the safety of the public at such events, while safeguarding the fundamental right of people to protest.

“Of course if people have concerns about the way the garda behave, which I’ve just heard, if people have those concerns, in relation to this or, indeed, any other matter, there are established procedures for pursuing such matters. Deputies are aware of the role of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission [GSOC] in this regard…”

Previously: What’s Going On Here?

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris  (right) and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan

Look over here.

Good times.

Earlier: Nothing To Hear Here

Poulaphuca Reservoir, County Wicklow



Poulaphuca Reservoir, County Wicklow

An Garda Síochána write:

While patrolling the Wicklow division The Garda Air Support Unit noticed the ruins of a homestead and a piece of farm machinery (mowing bar) on a raised piece of land which had previously been submerges in the lakes…

Agricultural homestead?

Or early dumping place?

We may never know.

Retreating waters in Co Wicklow lake expose ruins of homestead (RTÊ)

From top: Members of the Garda Riot Squad (Public Order Unit), during the National Emergency Service Parade on September 1 in Dublin city ; Alyson Kilpatrick’s report for the Irish Council of Civil Liberties and Ms Kilpatrick

This morning.

At the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission on Green Street, Dublin 7.

Former human rights advisor to the Policing Board of Northern Ireland, Alyson Kilpatrick BL presented her report A human rights-based approach to policing in Ireland – for which she was commissioned by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

In her report, Ms Kilpatrick writes:

A human rights-based approach is necessary because it is required by law. In Ireland, the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003 requires An Garda Síochána to perform its functions in a manner compatible with the state’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Moreover, a human rights-based approach is the best means of securing the reform of policing that is desired and needed. It is effective in securing a professional, lawful, democratic and accountable police service that respects and values the people it is there to serve while effectively combating crime and maintaining order.

It will help secure police legitimacy and therefore enhance safety and security. A human rights-based approach puts the rights of individuals and protected groups, enshrined at law by the ECHR,3 at the centre of every decision and action of the Garda Síochána and gardaí.

…If police are to build (or rebuild) trust they must behave so as to secure the confidence, approval and support of the public – willingly – by their professional, human rights compliant approach which respects democracy and the rule of law.

Trust in the police can be easily undermined, particularly when public order operations end in violence.

Scenes of police battling with protesters for example will be beamed across the country, drawing observers into a debate about the very legitimacy of the policing operation and the legitimacy of police themselves.

The police will be compelled to justify their actions by reference to the law and human rights principles. Without a ready willingness to explain, provide justification and answer questions the police will be pitched against the community it is there to serve.

Unanswered questions will invite speculation and silence will result in conspiracy theories. Tactics will be discussed and criticised by those who urge a harder edged policing response and by those who condemn the police for their over-use and/or misuse of power.

An Garda Síochána does not make its policy directives, training, strategy, decision-making logs or de-briefs available for public scrutiny.

In other words, the framework within which the garda operate is entirely hidden from the public.

There has been published an overarching policy directive on public order incident command but it is general in nature. It does contain the statement that it is “the aim of An Garda Siochana to uphold and protect the human and constitutional rights of everyone” but there is little in terms of practical guidance on how that will be achieved.

The garda’s policing of protest has given rise to concern among the public about tactics and potential political interference in policing operations but remains shrouded in secrecy.

The report can be read in full here

Pics: Eamonn O’Farrell/Rollingnews and ICCL 

 

From top: Masked gardai at North Frederick Street on Tuesday night; Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

The use of hoods by gardaí attending a protest on North Frederick Street in Dublin earlier this week was not correct, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said.

In a statement, Mr Harris said the use of fire retardant hoods by public order officers is a matter for the operational commander on the scene.

However, he said the form of dress used by gardaí at the “event was not correct as it is policy that if it deemed necessary to use the hood then it should be used in tandem with a protective helmet“.

” The people who had occupied the building left the building peacefully in accordance with the High Court order. Subsequent to this, a small crowd failed to leave the area despite repeated warnings from An Garda Síochána under the Public Order Act and five people were arrested.”

….The newly appointed commissioner also said he has requested a report from Patrick Leahy, the Assistant Commissioner for the Dublin Metropolitan Region, “to see what lessons can be learnt from the event.

Harris says use of hoods by gardaí ‘was not correct’ (RTÉ)

Meanwhile…

“I think like a lot of people, I didn’t like to see a private security firm in balaclavas, that’s the kind of image that anybody doesn’t want to see on their TV screens.

However, when it comes to gardai, they were wearing hoods in one and ski masks in the other. They are wearing hoods in case there is a risk of fire or something being thrown at them and they wear the ski masks in some cases to protect their identities.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hits out at balaclava wearing ‘heavies’ from Dublin housing protest (Irish Mirror)

Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews

Earlier…

From top: protest on North fFederick Street, Dublin last night; This morning’s Irish Times

On Tuesday late afternoon, “a private firm acting for the owner of the premises” supported by gardai forced their way into 34 North Frederick Street, Dublin 1,  vacant for three years, using an angle grinder and a sledgehammer.

Five people were arrested and at least one person was hospitalised during the removal in which some gardai used batons.

Claims made by Take Back the City, the Irish Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International Ireland concerning the tactics used and the ‘frightening’ optics were this morning refuted by Garda sources, according to the Irish Times.

Via Conor Lally the paper’s security and crime editor:

Garda sources have disputed much of what the group has claimed. They say the incident was not an eviction, pointing out those in the building were occupying it as a protest action for weeks, had never lived there and had no substantive link to it.

So. Not an eviction.

They further point out the building was office space before it became vacant some years ago and has not been a residence for many years.

OK. Not even a house.

The protesters had been ordered by the High Court to leave the building by August 28th and had declined to do so.

Justifying the masked men?

A number of men wearing balaclavas, who were acting for the landlord, used power tools to gain access on Tuesday evening to remove the small number of protesters still left inside.

And who were they?

The men wearing the balaclavas were not working for a security company. Instead, they work for a company specialising in taking possession of assets, usually when a dispute of ownership has arisen.

Really?

It may seem like a subtle distinction but it means they contravened no laws in declining to identify themselves to the protesters. And that means the Garda was not supporting an illegal action, as has been claimed.

And the gardai wearing balaclavas?

The balaclavas worn by the public order gardaí are part of the Garda “tactical” uniform and they are a safety item; to protect from corrosive liquids and burns.

Ah now.

However, Garda sources said few gardaí deployed to police an event that they suspect will be dubbed an “eviction” would want to be photographed or videoed at it.

They wear them to events they suspect may be called something else by somebody?

And because of the stigma involved, and because they cannot choose their tasks, gardaí will often wear their balaclavas to conceal their identities.

To recap: not an eviction, not a house, not a security company and not balaclavas but identity-concealing safety masks.

Nothing to see here.

Move along, folks.

Claim and counterclaim over end of Dublin ‘occupation’ (Conor Lally, Irish Times)

Last night: Not Backing Down

Previously: The Irish Times Says Sorry To Maurice McCabe

Maurice McCabe And The irish Times Part 1 and Part 2

Meanwhile

Go about your business.

Please, folks.





This afternoon.

Templemore, County Tipperary.

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan with new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at Mr Harris’ first garda graduation ceremony since his appointment, at the Garda College.

Via Independent.ie:

Mr Harris explained what he meant by “operationally honest”.

He said the gardai must act in the best interests of the public, be upfront with people and treat everyone they met with respect, dignity and empathy.

“We will ensure that this happens internally as well. We must respect and listen to our people.

Any ideas of on how we can improve, regardless of where they come from, should always be welcomed.

“Similarly, we will be more receptive to constructive criticism, whether it comes from inside or outside the organisation”, Mr Harris added.

New Garda Commissioner tells 185 fresh recruits they must ‘be honest (Indpendent.ie)

Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Um.

Saturday.

Members of the Garda Public Order Unit show off their riot gear during the National Emergency Service Parade [ from Parnell Square to Dublin Castle].

Which they are perfectly entitled to do.

FIGHT!

Earlier: Ask A Broadsheet Reader

Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Reg writes:

Any idea why the new Garda Commissioner was sworn in at Midnight on a Sunday?

Anyone?

Drew Harris sworn in as new Garda Commissioner (RTÉ)

From left: Noel Brett, Helen Hall, Chief Executive of the Policing Authority and Josephine Feehily, chairwomen of the Policing Authority in George’s Hall, Dublin Castle at a Policing Authority meeting with the Garda members last April

So, about those Garda reforms.

Via RTÉ

…In a strongly-worded report ]the Policing Authority] it said that if An Garda Síochána does not pause to reconsider the way its efforts and resources are being directed, then it is of the view that a continuation of the current activity will not deliver the fundamental reform envisaged.

Neither, it says, will it deliver an improvement in the quality of working life for those within An Garda Síochána, or an effective, responsive, modern policing service for communities….

Meanwhile..

The authority said there has been no clarity as to how the gardaí is using an increase in garda numbers of 800 each year to produce more effective, responsive policing….

…Under training, the authority gave the example that up to 800 gardaí are sworn in a year without the ability to operate garda vehicles as it is not included in their basic training.

Good times

‘Significant’ flaws identified in reform process of An Garda Síochána (RTÉ)

Rollingnews