Senator Sherlock express deep concern to Garda Commissioner about scale and nature of policing approach to Debenhams workers

24 April 2021

Labour employment affairs spokesperson Senator Marie Sherlock has written to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris raising deep concerns about the treatment of Debenham’s workers in Dublin yesterday. Senator Sherlock noted that Gardaí have a job to do in the balancing the rights of businesses and ensuring the safety and dignity of workers and bystanders but noted that that balance appears to have been missing yesterday morning.

Senator Sherlock said:

“I am alarmed at the scale of the Garda attendance with reports to me that there were between 50 to 60 Gardaí  were in attendance. Furthermore, the heavy-handed approach to policing and  the manhandling of workers in a disproportionate and unnecessary manner raises serious questions as to the balancing of rights for workers and the company. We need to hear from the Garda Commissioner why An Garda Síochána allowed itself to be drawn into a situation of the scale and nature that it did.  

“In addition, I am told that workers were preparing to ballot on the €3m training fund within the next two weeks and that the liquidators were aware of this. That the liquidators would press ahead given this knowledge, is shameful. An Garda Síochána can only work with the facts presented to them but this information adds to the sense of distress about the handling of events on Friday morning. The Gardaí are well aware of the reason Debenhams’ workers continue to protest as they seek a fair redundancy package.

“We are facing into an uncertain economy recovery in which many business are unsure of their prospects. There are thousands more redundancies likely to tale place over the coming months and with that the prospect of workers seeking to vindicate their entitlement by means of a sit in or blockade. It is absolutely incumbent on An Garda Síochána that proportionate, constructive and sensitive policing practise is applied to any of these situations. Workers deserve dignity and respect and we cannot allow the terrible treatment of these Debenhams workers to be repeated.”


Senator Sherlock’s letter:

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