Report claims Garda response to public disorder at Jobstown protest was a 'qualified success'

Report claims Garda response to public disorder at Jobstown protest was a 'qualified success'

A review of the Jobstown water charges protest in Dublin says garda intelligence should have been aware of an increased risk of public disorder in the run-up to the event.

The report says no overview was taken within the gardaí at the level of disquiet over the installation of water meters.

A review of how gardaí handled the event in 2014, which saw Joan Burton and her advisor trapped in a car, says from a basic policing perspective, it was a qualified success - no one was physically harmed and no complaints were made against the gardaí.

Its policing response was a "qualified success" as the Tánaiste and assistant were extricated without physical injury.

However, the event lacked strategic direction and tactical options do not appear to have been explored.

The review is recommending the publication of a draft policy on public order incident command as a matter of urgency.

It also says that robust structures should be put in place to monitor levels of public order.

The report also questions the success of the subsequent garda investigation as a group of protesters were acquitted and a teenager had his conviction overturned.

The review said there was little evidence of a Garda strategic assessment before the trouble.

It said: "From the benefit of hindsight. it is clear that the risk of a serious outburst of public disorder was likely to occur around this time as demonstrated by the considerable number of public order incidents surrounding the installation of water meters in October and November 2014, coupled with the two specific incidents in the days immediately preceding this visit of the Tanaiste to Jobstown.

"These events should have increased the level of risk and been picked up by Garda intelligence."

"The opinion of the review team is that although not all of the existing policies and procedures were followed to the letter, there was more than sufficient compliance and in cases where non-compliance was encountered, this did not affect the overall outcome of the investigation.

"However, when set against the benchmark of court outcomes it is questionable as to how successful this investigation actually was."

The report said the introduction of a Major Investigations Management System should be identified as a key strategic imperative and introduced at the earliest juncture.

- Digital Desk

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