Pringle raises concerns with bill on recording devices for gardaí

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, raised concerns with a new bill on recording devices for An Garda Síochána, calling the bill “very important, although apparently only half-written”.

Addressing the Dáil, Deputy Pringle said: “As I understand it, this is the first of three bills due to be introduced this year that will address reform in An Garda Síochána. There are many issues within An Garda Síochána and there is no doubt that reform is badly needed in the organisation. I find it amazing however, that instead of addressing the many areas of Garda reform required, the first thing this government has decided to prioritise is the introduction of new equipment, such as body-worn cameras, that we’re not actually 100% sure of a total need for, at the financial cost to the State and the cost of our citizens’ rights to privacy and data protection.”

The deputy was speaking on Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill 2022.


Deputy Pringle said: “My biggest concern however, is the fact that the Minister for Justice indicated her intention to bring forward a committee stage amendment to the bill to provide for facial recognition technology. It is completely unacceptable to bring forward this legislation today, half-written by the government, with the intention of throwing in such important amendments at committee stage.

He said: “Minister McEntee stated clearly on the 25th of May last year that it was her ‘intention to provide for the use of facial recognition technology’. The bill was published three months later, on August 4th. The Minister had three months to write facial recognition technology into this legislation, but she didn’t. She decided instead to publish the bill without it and then add this extremely important and controversial provision at committee stage. Why is that?

“I can think of no other excuse for this other than the fact that the Government doesn’t want this raised during second stage debates in this chamber. If this is the case, then this is an incredibly sinister and disturbing move and this needs to be addressed urgently because it’s starting to become a trend,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “We are seeing a trend of the Government undermining the legislative process. I have been raising this continuously over the last couple of years.”


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