Garda commissioner accused of being mouthpiece for Shatter

FF Senator says it would be a sad day if four Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors members were disclipined

Senator Diarmuid Wilson said the AGSI members who had walked out during the Minister for Justice’s speech at the association’s annual conference had been mandated by their branches to do so. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Senator Diarmuid Wilson said the AGSI members who had walked out during the Minister for Justice’s speech at the association’s annual conference had been mandated by their branches to do so. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Wed, Mar 27, 2013, 19:49

The Garda commissioner was obviously just a mouthpiece for Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, Diarmuid Wilson (FF) said.

It would be a sad day if four members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) were to be disciplined for taking democratic action in the only way open to them, he said.

Calling for the Minister to be invited to the House to facilitate an open discussion on the difficulties facing the force, Mr Wilson said the AGSI members who had walked out during the Minister’s speech at the association’s annual conference had been mandated by their branches to do so.

Acting Seanad Fianna Fáil leader Marc MacSharry said he thought it would be highly regrettable if disciplinary action was taken against the four.

Members of the Garda had very limited tools at their disposal to highlight the difficulties that they had at any given time. Surely they should be entitled within the confines of their own conference to register a protest in a peaceful and meaningful way.

“I would regret very much if the Garda commissioner felt it necessary to proceed to take disciplinary action against these members,” said Mr Mac Sharry.

A letter in yesterday’s Irish Times about the direct provision system for asylum seekers was “a must-read” for all parliamentarians, Jillian van Turnhout (Ind) said. Penned by a doctor familiar with the accommodation provided, it highlighted the harrowing system that had been put in place.

There was a need in particular to debate the appropriateness of the system for the welfare of the 1,725 children who had been in it for several years.

Ms van Turnhout urged the establishment of an independent complaints mechanism and an independent inspection system of direct provision centres.