Tuesday 12 December 2017

Garda watchdog to examine footage of protests

Shane Hickey

VIDEO footage of the student protests in Dublin earlier this week is to be examined by the garda watchdog after complaints were received about the behaviour of some gardai during the demonstration.

The footage was sent to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), the body which investigates complaints against the gardai.

So far, 10 complaints about the conduct of gardai have been lodged following the rally, which saw violent scenes between some protesters and officers.

Three people were arrested on Wednesday after violent scenes in central Dublin during the march against changes in student funding.

Yesterday, a series of complaints were made about the policing of the event to the GSOC.

A GSOC spokesman said all of the complaints relate to garda behaviour on the day.

Up to 25,000 students from around the country took part in the march. Tensions rose after some of the marchers tried to make their way from Kildare Street to Merrion Square but were stopped by gardai in front of the Department of Finance building on Merrion Row.


A number of the protesters took video footage during the incident, some of which has ended up on the internet.

It is understood that some of the footage shot during the demonstration is being used as part of complaints made against the gardai.

Staff at the GSOC will now sift through the complaints and decide whether they are valid.

Last night the spokesman said there are various degrees of specific information contained in the complaints.

"The point we would make is that complaints are simply complaints," he said.

"The first thing we have to decide is if they are admissible or inadmissible. And after that we will see what form, if any, the investigation will take."

The GSOC can only investigate complaints against particular members of the force.

After the clashes, a number of students blamed the confrontations on the republican group Eirigi and accused its members of inciting the anger.

It is unknown whether the complaints to the GSOC came from students or Eirigi.

Three gardai were injured after they were hit with objects thrown by demonstrators.

The garda public order unit drew batons during the confrontation and the crowds were eventually dispersed by the mounted officers and garda vans.

Irish Independent

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