Sylvester Phelan, Breifne O'Brien
Video: Roscommon incident ‘Violence at any stage solves nothing’
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has warned that “violence is not the answer” to yesterday’s controversial incident in Co. Roscommon which saw three people admitted to hospital and numerous vehicles set alight.
The TD for Galway-Roscommon said that violence solves nothing and people need to sit down and work together to solve disputes.
Deputy Fitzmaurice was referring to an incident in Falsk, near Strokestown yesterday morning at 5:30am, where a large number of men in high-viz jackets confronted security personnel who were present in a recently-repossessed farmhouse.
During the confrontation, eight security workers were injured with three requiring hospital treatment. In addition a number of vehicles were set alight on the premises and a security dog was put down due to injuries sustained.
According to reports, the road to the house in question was blocked by obstacles such as hay bales, impeding the fire service and Gardai from reaching the premises.
Deputy Fitzmaurice commented on the incident on RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland this morning (Monday, December 17).
“First of all violence at any stage solves nothing; you have to sit down and work with people – and you have to sit down and work with the banking sector as well.
“It is difficult at times; I would be involved weekly for people.
I predicted this a year ago when I was speaking in the Dail, and indeed on numerous shows, when I said that ‘the situation was getting worse’.
“Now we need to be mindful that a lot of violence took place on the Tuesday before – which needs to be condemned as well.
“We are aware that a Northern security firm has come up with links as well – allegedly – to other things, and this won’t solve anything. We’ve got to make sure that people sit down.
“But, a week before Christmas there are two people out of the three that never had any involvement with the bank, or Revenue, or anybody else, that are living in a house all their lives that are left homeless. And that’s not the solution.
I think the banking sector needs to rethink how we’re doing things and you need to work with people and you need to make sure that when something like this is unfolding that you look at all of the different sides to it.
The TD strongly rejected suggestions that comments he made before the incident may have been seen to incite violence, reiterating that people need to talk and work together.
The violence referred to by deputy Fitzmaurice regarding the eviction on Tuesday, December 11, has been depicted in footage released on social media in recent days depicting volatile scenes with physical confrontation.
Justice Minister statement
In a statement released today (Monday, December 17), Minister Flanagan outlined that a criminal investigation is underway in relation to the incident.
Commenting on the incident, the minister said: “It should also be noted that security personnel assisting in the enforcement of court orders are not subject to regulation by the Private Security Authority (PSA) so the obligation to display identification does not arise.”
He also stressed that disputes relating to property are matters that are to be determined by the courts and in accordance with the law.
Continuing, the minister outlined that a security service – as currently defined under the PSA Act 2004 as amended – is a service provided by a private security employer or by any one of the following: a door supervisor; an installer of security equipment; a private investigator; a security consultant; a security guard; a provider of protected forms of transport; a locksmith; and supplier or installer of safes.
Accordingly, the requirement to display PSA identification does not apply to the individuals in this instance.
Minister Flanagan has requested his officials to examine the regulations in this area.
An interdepartmental group has been convened and is due to report to the minister in January 2019.
Concluding, Flanagan explained: “The purpose of the group is to examine the administrative, legislative, resources, security and any other matters required to provide for the regulation and licensing of security personnel assisting in enforcing court orders by the PSA.”