Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (132)

Bernard Durkan


132. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the action being taken or that can be taken to address the issue of threats and intimidation against individual members of An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27192/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am sure the Deputy will agree that we are all immensely grateful to An Garda Síochána for their outstanding dedication and commitment and for the important role that they play in our society, all too frequently putting themselves in real danger. It is imperative that Gardaí are protected in carrying out their work and that the law reflects and responds to the situations in which they find themselves.

As the Deputy is aware, it would not be appropriate for me to detail the operational measures that the Garda authorities have taken or would take generally in situations where individual Gardaí are subject to threats or intimidation. However, I can assure the Deputy that whatever protective and detection measures are deemed appropriate by the Garda authorities will certainly be taken.

I should also say that while the criminal law in this area is being kept under ongoing review, there is a range of robust legislative provisions available to the Garda authorities in circumstances where threats or assaults are made against Gardaí.

The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 (as amended) provides explicit statutory protection for peace officers, including members of the Garda Síochána, in relation to offences involving assault to or obstruction of a peace officer in the execution of his or her duty. Section 19 of that Act provides that any person who assaults a peace officer acting in the execution of his or her duty is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years.

The general law relating to assault is contained in the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997 which deals comprehensively with a wide range of assault provisions, the more serious of which carry heavy penalties. The assault and related provisions in that Act apply to assaults on all sectors of our community which of course includes members of An Garda Síochána.