THE Policing Authority has every right to be ‘very concerned’ by material in public circulation on social media relating to an eviction in Dublin on Wednesday of last week and the appropriateness of a garda presence there. At least, the force has reacted quickly and launched an investigation into alleged criminal damage and an internal review of ‘lessons learned’ after the incident in which a number of people were reportedly evicted from a premises on Berkeley Road in Dublin.
What business, if any, gardaí had to be there needs to be established by An Garda Síochána and, if was inappropriate, it needs to be dealt with by way of serious sanctions. Civil liberties groups have questioned why they were there and even the Irish Property Owners’ Association, the national landlords’ representative organisation, issued a statement expressing its concern with the manner in which the people were evicted.
In a statement, the Policing Authority said it was concerned 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 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 Policing Authority added.
Announcing its investigation to examine all the circumstances of the incident from a ‘lessons learned’ perspective, An Garda Síochána said: ‘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.’
The public needs to be re-assured about why gardaí became involved.