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Gardaí to debate law on holding drunk prisoners until they sober up

Delegates at the GRA conference will debate the legal implications of doing this, with one who is in favour of the motion saying it would help keep intoxicated prisoners safe.

Image: prisoner image via Shutterstock

GARDA DELEGATES IN Killarney will today debate a motion on the legal implications of detaining intoxicated prisoners in garda stations.

Michael Corcoran, who is a representative for Cork city said there is no legislation to allow garda stations to detain a drunk person up until a point they are sure the person is not a danger to themselves or anyone else.

Speaking yesterday evening, Corcoran, who will be speaking in favour of the motion, said there are provisions to hold an intoxicated person if they have been arrested on suspicion of drink driving. However most of intoxicated prisoners have been arrested for public order offences.

He said gardaí had a ‘duty of care’ in regard to people held in custody and where possible they were released into the care of somebody else like a member of the family but currently, they are obliged to release them, still in an intoxicated state even if there is no one to meet them at the station.

Corcoran spoke of a recent incident in which an 18-year-old, who had been detained under the public order act, had nobody available to meet them. The gardai had to release this person and Corcoran said it resulted in a tragedy.

The Cork garda said cells at stations in his district are often full at night and there is “not sufficient capacity to detain all of them for their own safety”. He said the solutions would have to be two-fold – a change in legislation to allow gardaí to hold people until they are satisfied they are sober and increased cell capacity so there is space for them.

Delegates will vote on the motion later today as the conference comes to a close.

We’ll be bringing you the latest news from the conference in Killarney  today so keep your eyes peeled. You can also follow @michellehtweet for updates throughout the day. 

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