THE UNION OF Students in Ireland (USI) has today withdrawn its condemnation of students involved in clashes with gardaí during a protest against increased student fees in 2010.
The move comes following criticisms of gardaí by the Ombudsman over the weekend for withholding information and providing misleading details about the policing of the incident.
Back in 2010, the union sought to distance itself from the small group that broke away from the march and had to be removed by force by gardaí with violent scenes caught on camera in the aftermath:
However today, President of USI Joe O’Conor said that it now appears that some of its members “were targeted and had force used against them, though this was denied at the time by gardaí”.
Without the information we now have to hand, the Union of Students in Ireland took a stance of condemning those protestors who broke away from the main demonstration in 2010, and making their actions the focus of our response. USI would like to use this opportunity to officially withdraw that prior position.
He added that gardaí contributed to an “exacerbation of the situation” rather than effectively handling events as they unfolded. O’Conor said they now have further questions to answer about their conduct on the day and that the USI has asked for a meeting with the Garda Commissioner to discuss its concerns.
Related: Gardaí gave ‘misleading’ information to Ombudsman on student protest> More: Garda Ombudsman investigates 28 student protest complaints>