Journalists concerned at Garda proposal to criminalise the photographing of officers while on duty

Recruitment numbers and staff shortages are expected to be raised by the AGSI President, Antoinette Cunningham, at their annual conference today.

Up to 150 delegates, representing more than 2,000 sergeants and inspectors, have gathered in Killarney for the three-day event.

Up to 30 motions will be debated, including calls for a new criminal offence to be created for photographing or capturing an image of a Garda while carrying out their duties, without their prior consent.

However, the National Union of Journalists has expressed concern at the motion.

Michael Foley, a member of the NUJ Ethics Council, said: "One of the big concerns is obviously freedom of expression, I mean the journalists taking photographs is exercising their freedom of expression and they should be allowed to do so.

"But there is also an issue about demonstrations and marches which are part of people's civil liberties, and part of that is that they are done in public, obviously, and that journalists cover those things and cover how they are policed, and that policing is done in public."

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