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Why are so many gardaí showing up to make the 'Jobstown' arrests? And why so early?

Between six and ten gardaí are showing up to make the arrests — and their dawn operations have come in for plenty of criticism. So what’s the rationale?

Updated at 11.50am. Originally posted on Wednesday evening. 

AMID ALL THE criticism of the Garda investigation into last November’s ‘Jobstown’ protest (and there’s been plenty) left-wing groups — and others — have hit out at the manner in which the arrests have been made this week.

The effort was clearly a waste of the force’s resources, Socialist TD Joe Higgins said on Monday… Why were six gardaí needed to take his Dáíl colleague, Paul Murphy, into custody?

Murphy himself (on his release from Terenure Station several hours later) echoed that sentiment, telling reporters he was hardly a “master criminal” who deserved that sort of attention.

The pattern has been repeated over the last four mornings — with between six and ten gardaí showing up at the homes of people thought to have been involved in the protest targeting Joan Burton at An Cosán.

A man taken to Rathfarnham station on Wednesday morning had six gardaí call to his home, his partner told this website.

The father of the 16-year-old arrested on Tuesday said ten gardaí had shown up to make the arrest. Two of the teenager’s older brothers — both in their twenties — were also at home when the officers called.

So why such high numbers? And why so early in the morning?

“Typically, you’d need at least three gardaí to make an arrest — but you’d need more there in certain circumstances,” a Garda source told us.

You’d need a Garda driver, someone to sit in the back of the car with the person, and an observer.

“It depends on the situation and the location — you’d need enough gardaí to cover all exits [of the building]. If you’re in an area where locals are likely to object to a Garda presence, you might need more gardaí.”

The officers planning the arrests would take note of who was likely to be in the house at the time they called, the Garda source said. Numbers would be added to the arresting party, depending on how many people were likely to be in at the time.

In cases where you’re also making searches, the more gardaí you have the quicker the whole thing is.

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The whole idea is to get in and out as quickly as possible, while maintaining the safety of the people at the location and in the surrounding area, the source said — so while generally only two gardaí would be needed to actually make the arrest, other officers may be required to deal with any opposition to what’s happening from family members, other occupants of the house, neighbours or anyone else.

And why the dawn raids?

Well, if you’re arresting someone at their house — obviously, there’s a very good chance they’ll actually be in at that time.

Last November's Jobstown protest

Speaking to reporters at a press event outside the Dáíl on Wednesday (below) Murphy again insisted the dawn raids had been over-the-top.

Look, these are not violent people. These are people who are engaged in a peaceful protest. The purpose of having six, eight, ten gardaí at people’s homes — it’s clear what the purpose is. It’s to criminalise people. It’s to send a message out to other people that these people are criminals and for people themselves to internalise the idea that they’re criminals, that they should be treated like criminals.

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Watch: In a break with tradition, Paul Murphy was upstaged today by a (far) left-wing heckler

Read: Father of arrested 16-year-old: “There was a big bang. I thought they were putting the door in”

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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