herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

'We never considered putting Army on streets', says Kenny

Enda Kenny denied claims
Enda Kenny denied claims

Martial law was never contemplated as part of the contingency plan for the threatened garda strike, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Mr Kenny was responding to claims that the prospect of martial law being declared was raised by garda management in talks with officials from the Garda Representative Association (GRA).

The GRA delegation met with Assistant Commissioner Eugene Corcoran on Thursday morning to discuss contingencies in the event of the strike going ahead.

It was claimed Mr Corcoran told the meeting the security of the State and lives would be at risk if the industrial action went ahead.

The meeting between Mr Corcoran and the GRA resulted in the GRA's announcement that it would allow members in 18 Garda units to show up for work.

Sources also alleged the meeting was told martial law may have to be declared by Tanaiste and Justice minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Assure

However, Mr Corcoran denied this, telling the Herald: "There was no requirement at this time or at any stage to request the assistance of the Army."

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny insisted that martial law was never considered or raised by the Government.

He said he had met Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan, other senior members of the garda management and Ms Fitzgerald on Monday, adding that contingency plans were Ms O'Sullivan's responsibility.

"Let me assure you and confirm to you that the question of martial law - ie the Army being on the streets of this country - was never contemplated and never raised," Mr Kenny said.

A spokeswoman for the GRA said: "The GRA are not commenting on the content of the discussions."

A garda spokesman said it would not be appropriate to comment on contingency discussions held with GRA officials.

He said gardai made no request to Government to invoke emergency powers.

"The public were assured by the Garda Commissioner that the contingency plans drawn up would ensure that a policing and security service remained in place," the spokesman said.

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