Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern TD has announced the introduction of the pepper-spray (properly referred to as the incapacitant spray) for use by all members of An Garda Siochana.
The use of so–called pepper spray by police in other jurisdictions has been found to be a contributing factor in reducing such assaults and injuries to Police Officers. It was also found that the use by Police of such sprays has been a factor in reducing injuries to suspects as well as a reduction in allegations of excessive force against Police Officers.
Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern TDThe decision follows a reccommendation from the Garda Commissioner, and is justified by Minister Ahern by citing the increase in assults and "obstructions" on Garda between 2006 and 2007.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has insisted that any Garda issued with such weapons be properly trained in their use, and that the health effects of any such weapons be fully tested prior to their introduction.
Pepper spray weapons – including their active ingredients and their chemical solvents and propellants – can have damaging short and long-term effects on a number of bodily systems and functions. These weapons are particularly dangerous if used against people whose health is impaired or on young people.
ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly