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Question

423. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons who have been arrested under the Water Services Acts in 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34301/15]

425. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons who have been arrested at protests against water charges in 2015. [34303/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 423 and 425 together.
The statutory functions of An Garda Síochána include the preservation of peace and public order, protecting life and property and vindicating the human rights of individuals. In the context of these functions it has been necessary for the Garda authorities to deploy Gardaí routinely at water meter installations and protests. The role of An Garda Síochána in such instances is to ensure, insofar as it is possible, that members of the public may go about their lawful business.
Indeed, the presence of An Garda Síochána is also essential to ensure the safety of protesters in such circumstances.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the statistics that are most readily available show that there have been 188 arrests in relation to water protests from November 2014 to date. The breakdown of offences and the corresponding number of arrests is set out in the following table. In that regard it should be noted that some individuals have been the subject of arrest on multiple occasions.

Offence Number of arrests
Section 12, Water Services Act 75
Public Order Offences 91
Criminal Damage 6
Assaults (Garda/Irish Water) 6
Endangerment 3
Firearms/Offensive Weapons 4
Warrant 1
Breach of Bail 1
Trespass 1
Total 188