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Parliamentary Questions to the Minister for Justice from Joe Higgins T.D. concerning Mayday.

category dublin | summit mobilisations | news report author Friday May 14, 2004 16:29author by Reporter

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the person who gave the order to use water cannon in the Ashtown area on May Day 2004; and the reason this decision was made when the situation clearly did not warrant such a disproportionate response.

Parliamentary Questions to the Minister for Justice from Joe Higgins T.D. concerning Mayday.

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason it was necessary to spend public funding on security fencing in the Phoenix Park when the whole park was completely sealed off by the security forces.

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the person who supplied the Garda with the two water cannons used on May Day 2004 in the Ashtown area.

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the nature and details of any agreement with the suppliers of the water cannon to the Garda Síochána including whether they were purchased or leased or loaned; the location of the two water cannons now; and if it is intended to acquire such apparatus on a permanent basis.

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when negotiations began with the suppliers of the water cannon used by the Garda in the Ashtown area on May Day 2004; and when a decision was made to acquire the apparatus.

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the person who gave the order to use water cannon in the Ashtown area on May Day 2004; and the reason this decision was made when the situation clearly did not warrant such a disproportionate response.

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if Garda personnel operated the water cannon used in the Ashtown area on May Day 2004; and the persons who trained the operators.

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of Gardaí deployed in Killarney for the rally of the lakes; and the number of Gardaí deployed in the Ashtown area on May Day 2004.

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of persons arrested as a result of alleged public order incidents in Killarney on the occasion of the rally of the lakes; and the number of persons arrested as a result of alleged public order incidents in the Ashtown area on May Day 2004.

To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of Gardaí drafted into Dublin from outside the Dublin area for the May Day weekend 2004.

(Reference numbers: 13915/04; 13916/04/; 13918/04; 13920/04; 13919/04; 13921/04; 13922/04; 13923/04;13938/04; 13939/04)

- Joe Higgins

Reply from Minister Michael McDowell:

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the erection of fencing in strategic locations inside and around Phoenix Park was a necessary element of the overall policing plan for the events of the May Day weekend. I am further informed that an estimate of the costs associated with erecting the fencing in question is not yet available.

I have been informed by the Garda authorities that, in April, 2004, in considering the range of tactical options available through co-operation on Public Law and Order to ensure the safety of the public in dealing with unruly protests, the Garda Commissioner entered into a Service Level Agreement for the loan of two water cannons from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The water cannons were procured for the period 18 April, 2004 to 5 May, 2004 inclusive and have since been returned. I have been further informed that the Garda Síochána will assess the operational requirements for water cannons on an on-going basis. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the decision to use water cannons on May Day 2004 at Ashtown was taken by the senior Garda Commander at the scene.

The deployment of water cannons was part of a graduated Garda response to unfolding events. The water cannons were deployed following physical injury to a Garda and continuous attacks on the Garda cordon. I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the water cannons in use in the Ashtown area on 1 May, 2004 were operated by members of the Garda Síochána. I have been further informed that a total of nineteen (19) members of the Garda Síochána received training in the tactical command and use of water cannons from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

I have been informed by the Garda authorities who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the Rally of the Lakes took place over a three day period at locations in both Kerry and Cork West Divisions.

I have been further informed that for security and operational reasons it is not Garda policy to disclose the number of Garda personnel on duty in a particular area at any given time.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there were forty three arrests under the Public Order Acts in Killarney between 6 a.m. on 30 April, 2004 and 6 a.m. on 3 May, 2004.

I am further informed that there were twenty nine persons arrested as a result of alleged public order incidents in the Ashtown area on May Day 2004.
I have been informed by the Garda authorities that for security and operational reasons it is not Garda policy to disclose the number of Garda personnel on duty in a particular area at any given time.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the total number of Gardaí drafted into Dublin from outside the Dublin area for the May Day Weekend 2004 was 2,514.


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