Thursday, 26 February 2004

Questions (33)

Ciarán Cuffe


30 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether legal advice has been obtained as to the human rights implications of the use of non-lethal technology here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6368/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

The recommendations of the Working Group on Less Lethal Weapons were forwarded to me by the Garda Commissioner on 30 July 2002. The Government, having considered the matter, granted approval on 19 November 2002 for the introduction of certain "less lethal" weapons for use by the Garda Emergency Response Unit, ERU, where this is necessary to avoid the use of firearms.

As regards any human rights implications, I should emphasise that the purpose of making available less lethal weapons is to provide an alternative to the use of potentially lethal firearms. More generally, it is also worth noting that the section 7 of the Garda Síochána Bill 2004 will place a statutory duty on the Garda Síochána, in performing its functions, to have regard to the importance of upholding human rights.