Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary has voiced concerns that Gardai operating roadside checkpoints were ‘unreasonable and behaved in an aggressive manner’.
Mayo TD Calleary was speaking at a Joint Policing Committee meeting which took place in Mayo last week.
A high-ranking member of An Garda Siochana has admitted sending out a memo to remind all Gardai in Mayo of the standards expected when dealing with the public, but he has hit back at deputy Calleary’s claims.
Superintendent Joe McKenna told Extra.ie last night: ‘Garda behaviour at checkpoints is not a huge issue.’
The Westport-based head of the Mayo crime unit added: ‘I don’t believe it is a huge issue, but as I agreed at the JPC meeting last week to send the memo I have gone ahead and done so.
‘It has been circulated to all Superintendents in the Mayo district and will be communicated down the line to all members.’
At that meeting, Deputy Calleary raised the subject following a series of complaints he received over the behaviour of Gardai at checkpoints in the Christmas period of 2018, it was reported in the Mayo News.
He claimed: ‘Last year, at this time of the year, there were a huge amount of checkpoints and certainly the feedback from constituents, and a lot of people who met those checkpoints, people felt a certain lack of reasonableness.
‘Community relations are very important for the Gardai. Yes, checkpoints have to be done, but there needs to be reasonableness on those checkpoints when people are met.
‘Even people who sailed through the checkpoints found a level of aggression, frankly, when they were being asked to be breathalysed, and complaints came from people of all ages from all over the county.’
In response to queries from Extra.ie, Deputy Calleary said: ‘I was very happy with the response of Superintendent McKenna. The issue was not widespread, we are very fortunate in Mayo with the professionalism and commitment of our Gardai.’ Local Fine Gael councillor Michael Burke echoed Calleary’s claims.
He insisted: ‘It is important the ordinary driver who is stopped on the road be treated with the utmost courtesy, and sometimes I don’t know if that happens.’
Superintendent McKenna said: ‘I’m very disappointed to hear of the lack of courtesy at checkpoints and levels of aggression even.
‘To hear about members of An Garda Siochana being unpleasant or discourteous is not nice. I certainly will bring that back to our members.’
People have been very compliant up to now, but how long will their Patience last. Gardai overall are behaving well, but this morning you could feel the Tension – all it takes is one Idiot Cop, and we could be facing the Derbyshire situation spoken about by Lord Sumption, formerly Supreme Court, UK, speaking on BBC4 recently see link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnSgcwm1u8Q. Personally Fred says he has little support or time for John Waters and Gemma O’Doherty’s quest in Ireland’s higher courts concerning usurpation by the State of citizens rights to privacy. However listening to Lord Sumption gives a different perspective and it is his view that people are entitled to access what the Public Health message conveys but thereafter the decision to respect the advice should be their decision. We need Respect on both sides, when Garda wives and second wives are stopped the least they can Expect is Courtesy, so do all the people of Ireland, these New Laws should be Scrapped as soon as this Pandemic ends. We must Protect our Freedom and Democracy at all costs.
We have had scandal after scandal in our Police Force over the last few decades. The question we must ask is that in response to the Public Health crisis resulting from the Pandemic COVID-19, if our Caretaker Government (3 members of the Cabinet not even re-elected) have given adequate consideration to the powers vested through new legislation, which is said to have sunset clauses, but this is questionable. This Pandemic has to be tackled on a global scale but there must be equity written into the core and especially for impoverished countries. The World Bank is making funding available but this link shows the harrowing task ahead which has implications for all 7.5 billion+/- on our planet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVz5Do0QWHM&cid=ECR_E_NewsletterWeekly_EN_EXT&deliveryName=DM63224
Eminent Jurist Lord Sumption about English Police – what we do not want in the Republic of Ireland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J_7L8Ozim0