June 14, 2021
Balance must be struck between civil liberties and police powers – Martin Kenny TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Martin Kenny TD has today welcomed the publication of the heads of the new Garda Síochána (Powers) Bill.

Teachta Kenny said:
“The bill stems from the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing, which emphasised the need for Gardaí to have a human rights basis for their policing.

“Codifying police powers within legislation is an important part of that transformative process, as for too long there has been no explicit legal footing for many Garda practices.  
“Particularly welcome are the measures related to the requirements for statements to be strictly in writing and statutory requirements for a lawyer to be present during interviews.

“Other measures will need further scrutiny, such as the provision of passwords for electronic devices during searches and the new single power of arrest.
“There is a balance to be struck between civil liberties and police powers, and the pandemic has underscored the need for clear and understandable powers on the part of Gardaí.

“Sinn Féin will be looking for the maximum scrutiny possible on this bill and the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill, as both make sweeping changes to the way policing is done in the 26 counties.”

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