GSOC report finds garda response to water protests in 2015 was proportionate

Forty complaints were received about garda behaviour at water protests

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Gardaí acted proportionately in the majority of water protests last year, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has found.

Its annual report reveals that it only sent one incident of garda behaviour at water protests to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) - who then decided not to prosecute.

The report says GSOC received 40 complaints about garda behaviour at water protests or meter installations.

However over half were dropped because the complaint was either dropped, or was not made by a direct witness.

GSOC says it examined footage taken from garda body cameras, and from videos shared on social media.

This map shows allegations made in 2015 by garda division | Image: Source: GSOC

"The 29 admissible complaints were investigated. One senior investigations officer was appointed to manage all of these cases, so that any recurring or potentially systemic issues would be more easily noticed. All were investigated directly, or supervised, by a GSOC officer," the report says.

The majority of the complaints were related to incidents in north Dublin, during the installation of water meters by Irish Water and their contractors.

The report says they all originated from Leinster, except two - one in Co Cork and one in Co Waterford.

The complaints were among 2,000 received last year, with the most common complaints around abuse of authority and neglect of duty.

The GSOC report finds that 4,832 calls were made to its lo-call number, and 392 people were met face-to-face at their public office.

It says 1,996 complaints were opened in 2015 - 11% less than the previous year.