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Ó Snodaigh calls for overhaul of regulations governing treatment of persons in Garda custody

17 September, 2007


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for a radical overhaul of the regulations governing the treatment of persons in Garda custody. Deputy Ó Snodaigh was speaking today after Garda management decided to circulate a memo to officers reminding them that ill treatment of people in Garda custody should not be tolerated. This decision was taken on foot of a recommendation in a report from the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture which will be published shortly.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said today, "A memo is better than nothing but we need a far more robust response if the abuse by Gardaí of people in their custody is to be stamped out.

"The regulations governing the treatment of persons in Garda custody have been in place since 1987 and have remained substantially unchanged since then. This means that the regulations predate the events in Donegal uncovered by the Morris Tribunal. It means the regulations predate the deaths of Terence Wheelock and Brian Rossiter who both died following Garda custody. It means the regulations are dangerously ineffective, indeed they have been proven ineffective by the many grave abuses which have taken place since 1987, including the framing of Dean Lyons through a forced confession.

"Those regulations must be human-rights proofed and brought into line with best international standards. Ideally safeguards to protect persons in Garda custody should be provided for through primary legislation.

"The government is currently formulating its response to the report from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and it is my firm hope that it will include a commitment to review and radically overhaul the Regulations Governing the Treatment of Persons in Garda Custody." ENDS

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