Statement from Minister Flanagan re: recording members of An Garda Síochána
In an interview this morning, Minister Flanagan was asked for his views on a proposal by the Garda Representative Association (GRA) that it should be illegal to photograph Gardaí going about their normal duties. The Minister indicated that he would be prepared to look at such a proposal. The Minister has made the following statement:
“I believe transparency is vitally important; I am on record as favouring Gardaí wearing body cameras.
“I also greatly value the role of the media in providing objective reporting. However, I am concerned about the public order dimension of Gardaí having multiple mobile phones thrust into their faces as they try to go about their policing duties.
“In my experience press photographers are professional in how they undertake their duties, they do not impede the Gardaí going about their work.
“This is regrettably not always the case where public order issues arise. The uploading of images of Gardaí undertaking their duties on social media and consequent threats and intimidation is unacceptable to me and that is why I am concerned.”
The Minister has welcomed the Garda Commissioner’s statement last week with regard to the incident on North Frederick Street and the clarity which the Commissioner has brought to the situation.
In the course of his interview this morning, the Minister acknowledged the concerns which have been raised by Garda representative associations and specifically referred to the publication tomorrow of the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, noting that the welfare and health of members was one of the issues which the report will address. At no point did the Minister make any reference to any specific plans with regard to photography.