Report into allegations against gardai is ordered by O'Donoghue

 

The Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue, has ordered a "full report" into allegations that gardaí acted with excessive force in clearing anti-capitalist protesters from Dublin streets on Monday.

Commenting on allegations of police brutality at the Reclaim the Streets rally, Mr O'Donoghue said that if people were found guilty of "assault going beyond the norm of reasonable force", they could be charged.

Mr Brendan Howlin, Labour's justice spokesman, said that press photographs of the protest showed a number of gardaí without identification numbers. This was a breach of regulations, he said, adding that there were claims that the numbers had been removed by gardaí before they engaged with protesters.

The Green Party chairman, Mr John Gormley, said that the violent scenes following the rally emphasised the need for a "truly independent assessment" of Garda activity. He urged people participating in anti-globalisation demonstrations to behave responsibly and peacefully and not to allow the "tiny minority often intent on causing trouble" to hijack such protests.

The Workers' Party called for the withdrawal of criminal charges against protesters. "The actions of some gardaí yesterday were disgraceful, the type of thing we have come to expect from police forces in repressive societies, not in this country," a party spokesman said.

Sinn Féin also criticised the behaviour of some gardaí.

A spokesman for the Irish Council for Civil Liberties said that the Garda reaction to the protesters was "symptomatic of something seriously wrong with policing in Ireland". Mr Liam Herrick said that the the policing operation was an attack on the freedom of assembly and described the Garda powers under the Public Order Act as "excessively broad".

Mr Joe Carolan, of Globalise Resistance, said yesterday that people had been protesting against the rise of car culture and to highlight the need for more public transport. "We want all charges dropped and a full inquiry into the events of last night, where members of the Garda were filmed taking off their badges before brutally beating innocent protesters," he said.