Complaint made over pepper-spray use

A complaint has been made by a member of the public after gardaí used pepper spray during a public order incident outside a Letterkenny night club at the weekend.

A complaint has been made by a member of the public after gardaí used pepper spray during a public order incident outside a Letterkenny night club at the weekend.

One person has made a complaint to the Letterkenny Garda Station over the incident and the complaint has been forwarded to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

It has been alleged that innocent bystanders were ‘pepper sprayed’ by undercover gardaí who were dealing with a public order incident outside a nightclub.

It is understood plain-clothed gardaí were making an arrest for a suspected drug offence when another person became in an altercation with gardaí who then deployed pepper spray to restore order.

Pepper spray is used by gardaí to incapacitate a person in a public order incident or when the safety of gardaí or members of the public is thought to be at risk. It is often used as an alterative to gardaí drawing their batons.

Under current protocol the GSOC must be notified on every occasion pepper spray is deployed although this is not a legal requirement.

The spray is used on average several times a day by gardaí around the country and figures produced in August of this year show the spray has been used almost 3,500 times since it was introduced in 2010.

Last year 285 complaints were made to the Garda Ombudsman Commission about gardaí in Donegal.