Wednesday 1 March 2017

Full review into chaotic protest outside Leinster House to be carried out - Garda Commissioner

Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

An anti-austerity protest outside the Oireachtas descended into chaos yesterday evening. The sit-down protest on Kildare Street caused rush-hour traffic delays. Photo: Arthur Carron
An anti-austerity protest outside the Oireachtas descended into chaos yesterday evening. The sit-down protest on Kildare Street caused rush-hour traffic delays. Photo: Arthur Carron

A full review into the events surrounding Wednesday's chaotic protest outside Leinster House is to be carried out, Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan told TDs today.

During a behind closed doors meeting, Ms O'Sullivan also said she completely acknowledges the right of Oireachtas members to access Leinster House unhindered.

It is understood she also committed that further arrests will take place.

She made the comments during a half hour meeting with the Committee on Procedure and Privileges (CPP).

Ms O'Sullivan also held a brief meeting with senior Oireachtas management.

Committee members said they were satisfied with Ms O'Sullivan's response.

In a statement this evening, Ms O'Sullivan said:

"I’d like to thank the members of the Committee for their comments and concerns. An Garda Síochána are committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of the members of the Houses of Oireachtas, and their staff working in Leinster House are upheld. ”

"An Garda Síochána around the country, and especially in Dublin, facilitate protests on a weekly basis. The vast majority of these protests are conducted peacefully.”

"The theme that runs between all successful protests is one of close co-operation between the organisers and their local Gardaí. The organisers of protests should consult with Gardaí to ensure that the event they organise is peaceful, successful and passes off with the minimum of disruption to the general public.”

"I wish to commend the professionalism and restraint demonstrated by the Gardaí on duty at Leinster House in carrying out their duties.”

"It should be remembered that Wednesday saw two distinct protests carried out at Leinster House, and the majority of people who attended behaved in a peaceful manner. However, a small minority of individuals went beyond what could be described as a peaceful protest and engaged in the type of behaviour which resulted in the injury of a female Garda.

"Given the significant increase in the number of protests in recent times, a review is being conducted to ensure the safety of the general public and members of An Garda Síochána is balanced with the democratic right to protest.”

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