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Security firms engaged in evictions must abide by the same rules as other security personnel – Ó Laoghaire

31 January, 2019 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire today introduced the Regulation of Private Security Firms Bill 2019 in the Dáil.

The Bill seeks to regulate the firms that are being used by banks to enforce eviction orders, leading to such scenes as were witnessed in Strokestown and Frederick St in recent times.

The Cork South Central TD said:

“This is a simple Bill and one that I would hope will pass quickly with cross-party support.

“The aim is to demand the same level of accountability and transparency from security personnel enforcing eviction orders as we already expect from those who work security in a high street shop or the door of a pub.

“On the back of the Frederick St eviction, I was alarmed that there was no visible identification displayed by the individuals engaged in the eviction and no way of determining who they represented or what right they had to enforce an order.

“The PSA later informed me that such firms are unregulated, which is very concerning.

“Our Bill would rectify that. It would ensure that anyone involved in an eviction would be subject to standards, oversight, and licensing, including the obligation to carry ID. They could also be the subject of complaint to, and investigation by, the PSA.

“The Bill would amend section 2 of the Private Security Services Act 2004 by adding a new category of security personnel to come within the remit of the Act, and under the scope of the Private Security Authority. The Act is explicit in stating that all operating with the sector must identify themselves clearly, and show ID to anyone who requests it, with significant fines for those who breach that provision.

“It is not unreasonable to expect that those engaged in intrusive, and possibly forceful, evictions would be exempt from the same requirements as other security personnel.

“It is entirely unacceptable that masked men are given a free rein to simply turf people out of their homes without the basic constraint of transparency and accountability.” 

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