Wednesday, 17 November 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
266. Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the representations he has made to the British Government regarding the recent abuse of CS gas by the PSNI in Derry and elsewhere. [29139/04]
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): On each occasion in which CS spray is deployed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the matter is automatically referred to the Police Ombudsman’s Office for investigation under regulation 55(4) of the 1998 Police Act. This practice was voluntarily instigated by the PSNI in an effort to ensure that CS spray, in its initial period of use, is open to independent scrutiny and analysis in terms of the actions of individual officers when deploying the spray.
At present, there are a number of cases of CS spray use by the PSNI under consideration by the Ombudsman’s office, at differing stages of investigation. I am confident that the Police Ombudsman is conducting a thorough investigation of the instances of CS spray use in Northern Ireland and I await her conclusions with interest. My officials are closely monitoring the outcome of these investigations, paying particular attention to any recommendations or concerns highlighted by the Police Ombudsman, for follow up with the British Government as and when it is appropriate to do so.
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