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Garda ombudsman investigates video of garda striking protester with baton

The incident in the video happened at a hotel in Gorey yesterday afternoon.
Nov 13th 2015, 2:40 PM 28,628 187

THE GARDA SÍOCHÁNA Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has opened an investigation into an incident in a video which shows a garda using his baton on a protester.

A crowd gathered yesterday at the Ashdown Park Hotel in Gorey to protest against the sale of a 32-property housing estate yesterday afternoon. The group occupied the room in which the auction was due to take place and chanted “housing is for people, not profiteers”.

Gardaí were called to the incident and a video uploaded to the An Spréach: Housing Action Collective Facebook page shows one member speaking with a man before attempting to arrest him. A number of scuffles between activists and gardaí follow.

Close to the end of the footage, as the crowd chants “peaceful protest”, one garda can be seen turning and striking a man with his baton.The officer is not in full view in the seconds before he hits the man so it is unclear what happened directly beforehand.

In a statement, GSOC said it has opened an investigation into events seen in a video on social media, which appears to show the policing of a protest at a property auction in Gorey.

The Commission is of the opinion that the public interest is best served by an independent investigation of this matter.

In response to a query from TheJournal.ie, a garda spokesperson said they do not “comment on videos posted by third parties on social media”.

Gardaí confirmed a man in his early 30s was arrested at a hotel in Gorey yesterday afternoon. He was taken to Enniscorthy garda station in relation to an alleged assault but was released later that evening.

A file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

GSOC is appealing for anyone who may have been present and witnessed the events, or anyone with information which may assist the investigation, to contact them on 1890 600 800.

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Michelle Hennessy

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