LARGE NUMBERS OF PEPPER SPRAY USE IN GARDAÍ – BROUGHAN

Deputy Broughan recently asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to report on the number of instances of Garda firearms and less than lethal weapons being discharged in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form and for a statement on the matter. In a reply to that Parliamentary Question received today, Deputy Broughan was informed that Pepper Spray was used 657 times in 2017, taser was used 34 times and firearms were discharged 6 times that year.  In 2018, there were 687 instances of Pepper Spray, 31 instances of use of tasers and 4 discharges of firearms.  To date in 2019, there have been 257 instances of Pepper Spray, 8 of tasers and 1 discharge of a firearm.  The Minister for Justice and Equality and GSOC did not provide any further information with the breakdown of figures.

The PQ reply states:   “Garda HQ Directive 10/2010 came into effect on the 26th January 2010. This requires An Garda Síochána to notify the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission of the discharge of a firearm, or less than lethal device, within 48 hours of the event occurring.  This requirement is additional to that set out in section 102 (1) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 which is a statutory requirement on the Garda Commissioner to refer to GSOC any matter that appears to indicate that the conduct of a Garda may have resulted in the death or serious harm to a person.  Based on the notifications made to GSOC by An Garda Síochána, under Directive 10/2010, I wish to provide the Deputy with the following information which I have received from GSOC.” 

Year OC (Pepper)Spray Taser Firearms
2017 657 34 6
2018 687 31 4
2019 to date 257 8 1

Deputy Broughan says “I have recently been calling for greater resources to the Gardaí and more action from the Government on rising instances of serious crime in Dublin.  However, it is also important to have transparency around the work of our Gardaí and I would have expected some further explanations around the use of these measures which is why I asked the Minister for a statement on the matter also.”