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1 Debates: Travellers on the PULSE system

Mick Wallace (ind, Wexford) raised the issue of Traveller families, including a baby, being registered on the PULSE police database (Dail Eireann, Debates, 25th March 2014, 493).  The reply of the Minister for Justice & Equality, Alan Shatter, was as follows: 


The management of the PULSE system is an operational matter for the Garda Commissioner.  While An Garda Siochana doesn’t comment on individual cases, I am informed by the Commissioner that PULSE does not solely capture information on offenders, but is also used to store information on Garda interactions with individuals, whether adults or children, such as victims of crime, persons injured in road traffic accidents and child welfare incidents.  All persons are subject to the same PULSE recording policy and procedures.  I have also been assured by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda Síochána does not engage in ethnic profiling and specifically that it does not engage in data gathering or data mining based upon discriminatory profiling in respect of race, colour, language, religion, nationality, national or ethnic origin, ethnicity or membership of the Traveller community.  The information and assurances were provided by the Commissioner in the context of my response to previous parliamentary questions on the matter.


On the following day, Joe Higgins (SP, Dublin W) and John McGuinness (FF, Carlow Kilkenny) again raised the issue (Dail Eireann, Debates, 26th March 2014, 807, 857).  According to John McGuinness, ‘families who went to Garda stations to have papers signed for passport applications ended up being profiled on the system.  Babies aged 16 days were entered into the system.  Human rights are being violated left, right and centre’.  He demanded an apology. Anne Ferris (Lab, Wicklow): 

On appointment to the Garda Síochána, each member swears an oath. Most of the 13,000 serving gardaí and the majority of the thousands of retired gardaí made their oaths in good faith and have conducted their working lives in accordance with that pledge.  Given all that has happened over the past few weeks, it is worth reminding the house of the words of the Garda solemn declaration as sworn by every new garda: “I will faithfully discharge the duties with fairness, integrity, regard for human rights, diligence and impartiality, upholding the constitution and the laws and according equal respect to all people”.  Does this oath that swears regard for human rights give scope to a member of the force to retain the details of an innocent two-year-old Traveller child on its criminal surveillance data recording system? It most certainly does not (831). 


> See also: Dail Eireann, Debates, 27th March 2014, 31-2.