Protesters at O’Gorman’s home complied with Garda orders, Commissioner says

Protesters At O’gorman’s Home Complied With Garda Orders, Commissioner Says
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Protesters at the home of Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman complied when asked to leave the area, the Garda Commissioner has said.

Drew Harris said that this meant legislative powers on public order were not needed.


The Garda boss told a meeting of the Policing Authority in Limerick that in the past few years, threats and abuse towards elected politicians had become “a more pernicious problem”.

He said that gardaí were made aware of a protest outside of the home of Mr O’Gorman last Thursday when local residents and Mr O’Gorman himself contacted them.



The first gardaí on the scene were from the local divisional detective unit in an unmarked vehicle and a detective Garda engaged with the protesters, Mr Harris told the Policing Authority.

There were banners on the gates and fence of Mr O’Gorman’s house and the gardaí who responded asked that the protesters remove the posters and leave the area.

He said they “complied with (this) immediately”.


“So the various powers that we have under the public order legislation in terms of people who fail to comply with that request and the Section 8 requirement… was not required as the protesters were immediately compliant,” he said.

“But they, in effect, I think made it clear that they had got what they wanted.

“Footage was subsequently placed on social media, there is a danger of that footage in that the sequence is not actually how it happened.

“The matter is under investigation, evidence has been obtained and the matter will be reported to the DPP.”


Roderic O’Gorman
A protest was held at the home of Roderic O’Gorman (PA)

He added: “We are very aware of the pressure, the abuse, the instances of threats and criminal damage being directed towards our elected representatives, both at a national and local level.

“We have a specific operation which monitors those threats and indeed, monitors overall nationally, our response in terms of the investigation to try and identify individuals and patterns of behaviour, etc. But over the last four to five years, really this has grown to be a more pernicious problem, similar perhaps to what we’ve seen in Europe, and we’ve had to adapt our tactics.”


He said that all serving gardaí should be aware of the 1995 public order legislation and the powers it grants to gardaí, particularly as it is used in relation to the nighttime economy.

He said he has asked for a review to be conducted of Commonwealth jurisdictions to see if different criminal laws “are advisable to apply” in relation to public order in Ireland, but this would need to be “finely balanced” against the right to protest.

“We’re well armed in terms of legislation. If there is more that we can derive from what other countries and jurisdictions (do), against the common law background we have in place, then we certainly will consider that,” he said.

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