Garda body seeks clarity over compliance enforcement

Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors questions why details of enforcement measures not included for restriction levels

AGSI: the force would prefer to continue to police by consent. File photograph: The Irish Times

AGSI: the force would prefer to continue to police by consent. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

The general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has called for clarification of what the force is being asked to do over compliance with Level 3 restrictions.

Antoinette Cunningham asked why details of enforcement measures were not included for each level of the Living with Covid plan. If such details had been included it would mean the public and the gardaí would know what would happen as each level was introduced, she said.

Increased visibility of gardaí was always positive, but the force would prefer to continue to police by consent, she told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Gardaí have to manage public and political expectations, but they still don’t know what their powers are, she said.

Responding to criticism of the role of gardaí during recent anti-mask protests, Ms Cunningham pointed out the right to protest peacefully remained but that there was the question of whether it was appropriate for that to happen during a national pandemic.

“We have to manage the situation as best we can.”

Everybody should act responsibly, she urged. There was an expectation that the gardaí could “go in and break up” such protests, but they had the power only to deal with the organisers and not those attending such events, Ms Cunningham said.

Different situations will require a graduated Garda response, she added.