'Protect patients in custody' call
A RETIRED doctor has claimed there is inadequate protection for patients in garda custody.
Dr Richard O'Flaherty, who worked as an on-call doctor for garda stations, made the claim in a submission to the Oireachtas Justice Committee on legislative changes to the Garda Siochana Act.
Dr O'Flaherty said his 40 years of medical experience led him to conclude the "present situation is inadequate to protect patients in detention, doctors in attendance, other professionals and the silent majority of gardai".
He said all garda assault allegations should be referred to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GOSC) and garda stations should automatically call a doctor to tend to the individual in custody.
He also called for a rota of independent doctors to be assigned to garda stations to ensure trainee doctors are not "subjected to intimidation" by gardai while treating patients.
He said members of the force found to be stressed should be given shorter working shifts and revolving rotas: "This might change the war-weary mindset of these gardai that views Irish citizens as 'tracksuits' or 'scumbags'."
He is a member of the victims support group Justice4All, which forwarded allegations of garda harassment and intimidation to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.