Garda response to Jobstown protest was "qualified success", review finds

However, the report states Garda intelligence should have been aware of an "increased risk"

Garda response to Jobstown protest was "qualified success", review finds

File photo. Image:

A Garda review of the 2014 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.

Former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser were prevented from leaving a graduation event for several hours on November 15th 2014, after the car they were in was surrounded by demonstrators.  

Following a subsequent investigators, a group of protesters - including Solidarity TD Paul Murphy - were acquitted of false imprisonment, while a teenager had his conviction overturned.

The review of the Garda response on the day of the protest has called the operation a 'qualified success'.

However, it also adds that it is clear 'the risk of a serious outburst of public disorder was likely to occur around this time' in the wake of other demonstrations surrounding water charges.

The review claims the level of risk should have increased and been picked up by Garda intelligence'.

'Event lacked strategic direction'

The report states: "It is the view of this Review that from the perspective of a basic policing operation the policing response in this instance was a qualified success. This is bourne out by the fact that the then Tánaiste and her assistant were extricated from the protest without physical injury.

"Furthermore, when this event concluded no protester reported any physical injuries or lodged any complaint in respect of the conduct of members of An Garda Síochana who participated in the policing of this event. However, evidence would suggest that the event lacked strategic direction and various 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 found 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.

It says that from an 'objective perspective' the investigation was brought to a successful conclusion, with files submitted to the DPP 'in an efficient and expeditious manner'.

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