Tuesday 23 April 2019

Gardai won't be reprimanded for stopping pro-Tibet protest

Barry Duggan

NO garda officers will be reprimanded after protesters – who were removed from the Phoenix Park during the state visit of the Chinese vice-president – lodged a complaint to the garda ombudsman.

However, the Irish Independent has learned that the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission is continuing to investigate a second complaint it received after a pro-Tibetan protester was stopped from protesting at the Cliffs of Moher during the same visit.

Xi Jinping – who became president of China last month – visited popular tourist regions in Clare and Dublin during his state visit to Ireland last February.

The garda watchdog is continuing to investigate a complaint after 'Free Tibet' campaigner Sinead Ni Gairbhith claimed officers used excessive force to remove her from the Cliffs of Moher site before Xi Jinping arrived on February 19.

Ms Ni Gairbhith, who has previously spent time in Tibet, said she was entitled to be at the Cliffs of Moher during the visit and to protest there.

Before the Chinese delegation arrived, she alleges four garda officers approached her before taking her protest sign and breaking it. She alleges they then twisted her arm behind her back to remove her from the area. The complaint into this incident is still being investigated by the commission.


Separately, Niall Murphy confirmed to the Irish Independent that he filed a complaint on behalf of his wife Tsering Dolma Murphy – a Tibetan woman – and her two friends who say their flags and banners were confiscated by gardai as they attempted to protest in the Phoenix Park.

However, no action will be taken following an investigation by the garda ombudsman.

"We weren't terribly happy with the response we got," Mr Murphy said.

"My wife and two others were removed from the park and told to follow the guards out of the park so they could get there flags backs.

"Their flags were taken off them and their IDs checked.

"My wife recorded all this and we sent it all to the garda ombudsman," he added.

"We have since been told that the guards and the ombudsman don't view that as a breach of discipline in any shape or form.

"There was no violence or anything like that but we feel it is a let off for the gardai," Mr Murphy said.

Irish Independent

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