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Inquiry into claims garda pepper-sprayed homeless man

Valerie Robinson Southern Correspondent v.robinson@irishnews.com

A

SENIOR garda has been tasked with investigating claims that an officer pepper-sprayed a homeless man on a Dublin street.

Public outrage was sparked after a video was posted on Facebook appearing to show the officer pinning the man to the ground and using spray during an arrest in the city centre.

The film was recorded by a third-level student on Henry Street last Friday.

A Garda superintendent, from out-side the division, has been ordered to investigate the incident, while watchdog GSOC is also studying the video.

The internal Garda inquiry is expected to focus on whether the homeless man was in handcuffs when the spray was used and will seek to determine why the officer placed his foot on the man, who was lying on the ground against a shop-front doorway.

Belfast-born homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry yesterday described the contents of the video as "absolutely shocking", while Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis expressed concern that the incident involved a member of "one of the most marginalised groups in our society".

"An Garda Síochána are sworn to discharge their duties with fairness, integrity, regard for human rights, diligence and impartiality with equal respect to all people, regardless of their personal circumstances," the Dublin North West deputy said.

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