Facial recognition technology for Gardaí ‘not the solution’ – Ó Ríordáin 


Facial recognition technology for Gardaí is “not the solution” to violence and antisocial behaviour in Dublin, Aodháin Ó Riordáin has warned. 

Reports have suggested Justice Minister Helen McEntee is seeking to expand legislation for facial recognition technology, which could be approved by Government in a few weeks. 

The legislation could come into effect by next year if approved quickly. 

Labour Justice Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríodáin said the suggestion to introduce facial recognition technology is deeply “controversial”. 

“It is not the solution to our problems,” he said. 

“We are talking about a perfect storm of a beguiled Garda force and elements of the far right that have been reporting that impunity for the last 18 months. 

“If the Minister thinks this is the solution to that, she is sadly misguided.” 

‘Ramming’ legislation

The Labour TD said the Government must stop “producing legislation in an attempt to deflect from serious issues in justice”. 

“Ramming legislation through the Dail without proper debate is not the solution to what we witnessed on Thursday evening,” he said. 

“There has been a building series of missteps in justice, and there are serious questions now for the Justice Minister, Fine Gael and the whole of Government. 

“Rather than ramming through serious legislation that will have an impact on every person in this country, what is needed is an assessment of why we have found ourselves in the position we do, with declining figures in the force.” 

Facial recognition technology

Irish Council for Civil Liberties Executive Director Liam Herrick said there’s “a long list of problems” when it comes to using facial recognition technology. 

“One of the problems is that the technology isn’t accurate and tends to have biases, particularly when it comes to women and people of ethnic minorities,” he said. 

“Facial recognition gives rise to very serious human rights issues – it’s a form of mass surveillance which the EU is currently considering banning. 

“The Minister can’t remove those legal problems but there’s legislation that will be published sometime next year.” 

Ms McEntee previously told Cabinet there is 6,000 hours of CCTV footage from Thursday night’s riots in Dublin city centre, which Gardaí are now expected to examine. 

Gardaí recently introduced body cams that they said are only activated when an incident is taking place.


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