HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION CRITICAL OF USING ANTI-SPIT GUARDS ON CHILDREN

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has voiced concerns over the Garda procedures on the use of anti-spit guards on children aged between 12 and 18.

According to IHREC’s Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney, “Anti-spit guards should only ever be used as a restraint of last resort, in the uniquely challenging circumstances of a pandemic. The Commission would strongly query their use on a young teenager or on vulnerable adults.”

Responding to a request from An Garda Síochána to contribute to its evaluation of anti-spit guards, in a letter to Sgt Kieran O’Sullivan, Assistant Commissioner for the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR), the Commission also highlighted data gaps in the reporting of the use of the anti-spit guards. 

The IHREC is of the opinion that the absence of disaggregated data on the grounds of ethnicity, race, national origin and an absence of data on the use of additional force, whether medical assistance was sought, if the individual showed signs of a learning difficulty, and length of time it was deployed, “prevents an effective review of the use of anti-spit guards”.