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Irish Council of Civil Liberties and Friends of the Earth call for "Root and Branch" review of public order policing

8 Apr 2011

Two leading groups campaigning for environmental and social justice have called upon the State's Garda watchdog to broaden its enquiries into facts disclosed by the Corrib Garda "rape-tape"

Friends of the Earth and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) have sent a joint letter to the Chair of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), Mr Dermot Gallagher, requesting that GSOC conduct a "root and branch" review of Garda practices, policies and procedures on public order.

Download and read the letter here.

Commenting on this development, ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

"We welcome the Garda Commissioner's apology for the conduct of the Garda members recorded on the Corrib Garda "rape tape" and await with interest the outcome of the Garda Ombudsman Commission's ongoing inquiry into these events. However, the transcript of the tape also discloses worrying gaps in the knowledge of Garda members about the legitimate means that may be used when policing public order events and about the ways in which they may be held accountable for their actions. We believe that these issues would be best addressed by a root and branch review of public order policing by GSOC. "

Director of Friends of the Earth, Mr Oisín Coghlan, said:

"It is encouraging that Minister Shatter has indicated he is 'open' to considering a review by the Garda Ombudsman of public order policing. The authorities have moved quickly to assure women they can still have confidence in how the Gardaí handle rape cases. The Government needs to be able to assure all citizens that if they or their sons or daughters have cause to protest they will be treated with professionalism and respect by Gardaí. An Ombudsman's review of how the Gardaí handle protests and protesters would be a good first step."

ENDS

Taoiseach should affirm the right to protest against Shell in Mayo - Friends of the Earth press release, Wed 6th April.

Friends of the Earth Campaigner Molly Walsh's blog on her experience of policing in Mayo.

Friends of the Earth's work on Community Rights and Resilence

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