Clearer rules for Garda members being called in by the sheriff when carrying out evictions must be drawn up by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, Garda sergeants and inspectors believe.
The force’s middle managers in the Roscommon Garda division, where a contentious eviction occurred late last year, want a policy document compiled and published so the role of Garda members is defined and made public.
The call, according to today’s Irish Times, is set to be made at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) annual conference in Co Cavan getting underway this evening. It follows disquiet among Garda members about being called in to be on standby at evictions.
While gardaí have no role in evictions, which are civil matters, they have been drafted in as a precaution and to be ready to contain any public disorder that may arise.
Last December the McGann family were evicted from their home in Falsk,outside Strokestown, after a dispute with KBC bank over a loan.
The eviction was recorded by members of the public on video phones and went viral on social media, leading to a highly charged atmosphere locally.
Gardaí have no direct role in evictions and are only present to deal with trouble that may flare
Days after the eviction the house was stormed by a large group and the security workers who had carried out the eviction were targeted by the gang, with a number of vehicles also burnt out.
Some members of the family moved back into the property the following day.
Many Garda members believe the public do not understand that gardaí have no direct role in evictions and are only present to deal with trouble that may flare.
And now Garda sergeants and inspectors from Roscommon and Longford are set to raise their concerns at the AGSI conference in Co Cavan, which is due to get under way today.
They want the association to take up the matter with Mr Harris and to ask him to draw up a policy around gardaí being part of a “posse comitatus”, or an enforcement party assembled by a sheriff.