Statement by the Policing Authority regarding events at Berkeley Road, Dublin when tenants were evicted from a house by individuals in dark jackets and wearing facemasks. Gardaí were present during the eviction and did not intervene despite vehement protests by the tenants that the eviction was illegal.
Tenans subsequently returned to the house some time after being evicted, but discovered that the house had been extensively damaged.
Statement by the Policing Authority 15 August 2020
The Policing Authority was very concerned by the material in public circulation relating to an eviction in Dublin on Wednesday last. 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 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 Chairperson of the Authority had a number of contacts and conversations with the Acting Commissioner John Twomey about these issues on Thursday and Friday. The statement from the Garda Síochána is welcome and important in that its recognition that there are lessons to be learned from the incident is an acceptance that all was not right with the Garda actions on the day.
The Code of Ethics established for the Garda Síochána by the Policing Authority in 2016 acknowledges that Gardaí often have to make on the spot decisions, sometimes with incomplete knowledge of all the facts. It is on the implementation of the learning from these events that attention must now focus.
Promoting public understanding of policing is a statutory role of the Authority and concern for anything that might lessen public confidence in the Garda Síochána is central to that. Events that took place in North Frederick Street two years ago should have informed the approach of, and guidance to, Garda members in situations such as arose a few days ago. The Authority will continue its detailed engagement with the Commissioner and his senior colleagues to ensure that everything possible will be done so that the willingness to listen and learn expressed in the Garda statement will bear fruit in policy and practice.