Dublin, 12 September 2018
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is today demanding answers from An Garda Síochána over the tactics used during an eviction of housing rights activists from a building at North Frederick Street in Dublin’s North Inner City last night. ICCL is calling for a swift public report from the Garda Commissioner regarding the Gardaí’s decision-making in advance of last night’s operation, and the reasons for and circumstances of the arrests and alleged injuries sustained by protesters.
Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the ICCL said:
ICCL has been highlighting the lack of transparency regarding the Gardaí’s policies and tactics in the areas of protest policing and use of force. We are calling on the Garda Commissioner to provide answers about what decisions were taken in advance of, and during, last night’s operation. We want to know: what was the legal basis for the Garda operation? Was it on request of the owner? What are the protocols for such requests? Was there engagement with the occupiers in advance of the Garda operation? What consideration was there of the need to use minimal force? What was the basis for the arrests?
Photo credit: Jack Power, the Irish Times
ICCL recently published a joint report with the International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations on international best practice in the policing of protest.
Liam Herrick said:
In order to uphold the democratic right to protest, police services must have procedures that force them to pause and evaluate the consequences for rights protection at each step of planning and executing protest engagement. Police officers must be trained, not just at the beginning of their careers but on an ongoing basis, on communication, dialogue, and de-escalation strategies. Transparency is essential. After every protest the public must receive full information about the strategies used and their impact on individuals.
ICCL is calling for An Garda Síochána to immediately commit to human rights-based reform of policing in Ireland. This approach has been used successfully by the PSNI to transform the policing of protest in Northern Ireland and ensure greater respect for the rights to protest in a democratic society.
This Friday at 11am in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, we will launch a guide to implementing human rights-based policing by former Human Rights Advisor to the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Alyson Kilpatrick BL. Ms Kilpatrick devotes significant attention in her report to the use of force and the policing of protest, and spells out the requirements that An Garda Síochána must begin to adhere to if they are to protect peaceful democracy and build trust among communities. Kilpatrick’s recommendations are based on the PSNI’s approach, whom she states “are now widely regarded as world leaders in human rights compliant public order and protest policing.”
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