Deputy Michael Healy-Rae has questioned the legality of members of the public who record An Garda Síochána and post it online in order to create negative attention.
Speaking during a debate on the Communications (Retention of Data) (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the Dáil on Tuesday, Deputy Healy-Rae said members of An Garda Síochána are entitled to ‘pull in somebody’ and question them but when the person being questioned starts recording them, the video is often posted online and misrepresented.
“How many times does it happen that the person the garda is questioning takes the telephone out and records the garda? Two seconds later that can be up on YouTube. The Minister knows how non-factual that can be,” Deputy Healy-Rae said.
“A garda can be asking the questions in a very respectful and proper way, but the angle of the telephone, the interpretation of what the garda is doing, the garda's gestures and the way the garda is standing near the person can be misconstrued when it is put up on YouTube,” he added.
“The garda can be ridiculed and made to look bad when the garda is doing nothing other than his or her job. It is very important for us as legislators to think about things like that and to think about protecting the gardaí when they are going about their jobs,” Deputy Healy-Rae said.
The Kilgarvan-based TD also explained that ‘the entire realm’ of data, its retention, and how it is accumulated and preserved, is becoming ever more complicated and complex as a result of mobile phone use.
“When we are dealing with this, we have to look at an even bigger picture and that is the advent of the mobile telephone,” he said.
“…The use and putting up of things [videos] like that has to be looked at. We are not trying to silence people or do anything wrong. We are trying to make sure wrong is not done to the very people who are trying to do things right in trying to keep law and order, which can sometimes be difficult and onerous.”