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Urgent report being carried out into the 'lessons learned' by gardaí at Dublin eviction

Video footage of Wednesday’s eviction at a property on Berkeley Road was widely shared online.
Aug 15th 2020, 12:02 PM 70,504 29

Updated Aug 15th 2020, 1:49 PM

AN “URGENT” REPORT into the lessons learned by gardaí following an eviction in Dublin during the week has been requested by Deputy Commissioner John Twomey.

In a statement released today, Twomey said he has appointed an outside Superintendent to examine all the circumstances of the incident from a “lessons learned” perspective.

Video footage of Wednesday’s eviction at a property on Berkeley Road was widely shared online.

The footage showed security staff moving the belongings of tenants at the north Dublin property out onto the street.

At least three gardaí also attended the scene. From the footage, it appears tenants had initially called them for assistance.

In the video, one of the gardaí tells a tenant that the security firm had handed in documentation to gardaí, adding “you have no right anymore to be here”.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties wrote to the Garda Commissioner to request information about the presence of gardaí and the public order unit at the eviction.

Speaking today, Twomey said: “An Garda Síochána is a learning organisation. I have requested an urgent lessons learned report on this recent incident.

“If, where An Garda Síochána can learn from this experience, we will do so to ensure that we continue to provide the best policing service going forward based on our tradition of policing by consent.”

A statement issued by the Garda Press Office added that An Garda Síochána is “committed to delivering a professional policing and security service with the trust, confidence and support of the people we serve holding the An Garda Síochána Code of Ethics at the certain of everything we do”.

“An Garda Síochána is very aware of current public discourse around an incident on Berkeley Road on 12 August 2020 and as an organisation we must listen and learn from our experiences.”

Criminal investigation

The statement noted that a criminal investigation into alleged criminal damage at the premises is currently being carried out.

“Our purpose at events of this type, which are essentially civil legal matters, is not to be an integral part of the event but to prevent breaches of the peace and ensure the safety of all persons involved.

“In the ever increasingly complex policing environment front-line members of An Garda Síochána must make dynamic and real-time decisions based on the information available to them at any particular time.

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“An Garda Síochána management must support frontline members and ensure that they have the correct guidance and support in attending similar developing, dynamic evolving incidents,” the statement added.

In a separate statement this afternoon, the Policing Authority noted that its chairman Bob Collins had contacted Twomey to discuss the eviction on Thursday and Friday.

The authority welcomed today’s statement from gardaí, but expressed concerns about the garda presence at the eviction.

“That concern was about the appropriateness of the Garda presence and of some of the things that appeared to have been said, and about the fact that circumstances were allowed to develop where the impression was conveyed that the Garda Síochána had an active role in the event,” the statement said.

“The impression was also conveyed that the Garda concern for vulnerable people so amply demonstrated in the context of the health emergency was not evident in this case.”

The authority said it would continue its engagement with senior gardaí to ensure that a willingness to listen and learn expressed by gardaí in their statement would occur.

With reporting by Stephen McDermott.

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Órla Ryan


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