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Proposal to ban photography of Gardaí ‘impractical and undemocratic’ – Ó Laoghaire

17 September, 2018 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh O Laoghaire TD has criticised the proposal by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan to ban photography of Gardaí as “impractical and undemocratic”.

The Cork South-Central TD said:

“It appears as though the Minister for Justice is coming up with legislative proposals on the hoof, and it is clear that very little, or perhaps no thought, has gone in to his recent proposal to ban photography of Gardaí.

“It is impractical and unworkable, not to mind undemocratic as an attack on freedom of the press, and undermining the ability to report Gardaí for misconduct.

“Has the Minister even thought about how this can work; is he proposing to ban press photography of Gardaí? How would you deal with the countless unintended photographs of Gardaí? Will Gardaí be advised not to get in to photographs with tourists? And will it be illegal to take a photograph of a community Gardaí visiting a community fun day?

“The implications of such a proposal make it clear that it simply cannot work and is not possible to implement in a world where photography and camera phones are constantly present.

“We appreciate that there is a need for supports and protections for Gardaí. We support the GRA call for Body Cameras on Gardaí which can protect Gardaí and the public alike. We also support the need for legislation to tackle online abuse, and we hope that the Minister can ensure my Bill to establish a Digital Safety Commissioner is progressed by Government. However, this proposal is poorly thought out, anti-democratic, and the Minister should just abandon it.” 

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