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Statement from Minister Flanagan re: incident at Falsk, Co. Roscommon

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has condemned the violence that occurred at Falsk, Co. Roscommon early on Sunday morning. He said:

“A Garda investigation is underway following a violent incident at Falsk, Co. Roscommon on Sunday morning, during which a number of people were injured. It is important that the Garda investigation can take its course.

“While I do not wish to comment on any individual case, I wish to stress that violence is never justified. An Garda Síochána are the sole legitimate guardians of the peace in this State, charged with upholding the law in the interests of the whole community.

“The Gardaí are required to carry out their important duties in accordance with the law and should any person have a complaint in relation to the actions of a Garda, they can and should go to the independent complaints body – GSOC.

“I am deeply disturbed by the thinly veiled references to vigilantism that have been made in recent days in social media and elsewhere. This is a very dangerous road to go down and vigilantism cannot and will not be tolerated in this State.

“While very conscious that the full facts of this particular case are not in the public domain, it is clearly deeply distressing to see a family lose their home, particularly at this time of year. I hope the situation can be peacefully resolved through dialogue and mediation.

“On the broader issue of mortgage arrears, the Government is committed to helping borrowers to achieve solutions that allow them to stay in their homes. Abhaile, the national state funded mortgage arrears resolution service, has provided free financial advice to over 10,000 households in mortgage arrears since it was established. The fact that there are over 116,000 mortgage restructures completed to date and that 87% of those restructures are on track, is positive proof that engaging with a lender works. There is help available for those in mortgage distress to wish to avail of State support.

“I am aware that there is some disquiet about private security operators who, from time to time, are employed by third parties to enforce Court orders. I recently requested that my officials examine the regulation of these operators with a view to bringing them within the remit of the Private Security Authority. I expect a report from an intergovernmental group, chaired by a senior official from my own Department, in January.”