Justice | Ensuring maximum protection for An Garda Síochána
To ask the Minister for Justice the extent to which ongoing protective measures are taken to ensure the maximum protection for An Garda Síochána while in the course of their duties and having regard to the number of gardaí who have been injured during the course of their work; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy will be aware, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the administration and management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that to ensure that Garda members can safely and effectively carry out their statutory and common-law duties, they are trained in arrest and restraint techniques. In addition, Gardaí are provided with the following personal protective equipment (PPE) and trained in its use:
- Ballistic stab vest
- Asp baton
- Incapacitant Spray
- Rigid handcuffs
In addition, while the criminal law in this area is being kept under ongoing review, there are a range of robust legislative provisions available to the Garda authorities in circumstances where threats or assaults are made against Gardaí.
Any assault causing harm on any person is an offence under section 3 of the Non–Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. A person convicted of such an offence would be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a maximum fine of €2,500 or both, or on conviction on indictment, to a fine, or to imprisonment, for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.
Furthermore, an assault on a member of An Garda Síochána, a prison officer, a member of the fire brigade, ambulance personnel, or a member of the Defence Forces would constitute an offence under section 19 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994. A person convicted of such an offence would be liable on summary conviction to a maximum fine of €5,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both. A person convicted of such an offence on indictment would be liable to a fine, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years, or both.
The table below, provided to me by the Garda authorities, shows the breakdown of occupational injuries to Garda members between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2021.
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