Incoming C&E officer arrested at Debenhams protest

Image Credit: Still from video by Stand With Debenhams Workers facebook page.

Incoming Campaigns and Engagement Officer Darryl Horan was arrested at 11:30pm last night while protesting in support of Debenhams picketers, The University Observer has learned.

Speaking to The University Observer, Horan stated that he was attending the protest as “...there is an attempt by strike breakers to get through the debenhams picket, to get stock for KPMG. I was aware the Gardaí were helping them, so I said I’d go down to show support”. He stated that he attended the protest “In a personal capacity but also as a People Before Profit member”.

At about 11:30pm, Horan was arrested under the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 5) Regulations 2020, the laws which allow the Gardaí to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown. Of his experience, Horan stated “we were on the island between two roads. We were asked, myself and two others to get off the road, we did so, we were then told to leave the street, or we would face a fine. We said along the lines of ‘That’s okay, we’re not leaving’, so we sat down. I was not handcuffed myself but the other two were, and then we were brought into the back of the vans”. Footage from the event shows Horan being carried by four Guards.

Horan described the experience of being arrested as “really boring”, adding that he “was in a cell for about two hours”.“I was strip searched as well, which wasn't ideal", he added.

It is understood that Horan’s case has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but that Horan does not expect he will be charged, as he believes “this protest is of a very political nature, I think the Gardaí knew they were doing wrong about this, that’s why they were so hesitant to arrest people”.

A Garda press officer told The University Observer that “An Garda Síochána attended a premises in Dublin City Centre as required in the execution of a High Court Order on the evening of the 22nd April 2021. An Garda Síochána has no further comment at this time”. The press office did not answer the question “Is strip searching of arrested individuals standard practice under the Health Act of 1947?”