Seanad debates

Thursday, 20 December 2018

11:50 am

Photo of Frank FeighanFrank Feighan (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

-----and Senators Lawlor and Marshall were elected on a cross-party basis and this is positive. We work together in the Seanad in a positive manner and they have brought their own views to this House and there is much to be said for it.

Roscommon has certainly been in the news in the last two weeks. I live in Castlerea at the weekends and two weeks ago there was an incident there. Last weekend, hundreds of people marched about that incident between a garda and members of the public. I understand the details are before the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, but I can say that there is huge anger and worry about this incident. I hope that GSOC will deal with it. On Strokestown, there is a protest march again next Sunday and I hope it will be peaceful. I believe it will be because the people in the area are peaceful people. Sometimes people come from elsewhere in the country to marches such as this and may want to use them for their own purposes.

I agree with Senator McDowell that An Garda Síochána is the sole legitimate guardian of peace in this State and it upholds the law. In the last few years since the recession, we had the water protests where people said "Shame on you" to An Garda Síochána but it is our force and it bore the brunt of that. I know that many gardaí were followed home and people told them they knew the address of their family and that is not good enough.

I thank Commissioner Drew Harris because he came to Roscommon yesterday and is looking at the two incidents. It is very positive that An Garda Síochána is taking time out to look at this because these two incidents need to be dealt with professionally and in a delicate way. The last two weeks in Roscommon have been difficult for the Garda, the people of Roscommon, the people who were evicted and the people who were attacked. At the end of the day, the rule of law has to hold and the Garda is the sole guardian of peace in this country.


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