A substantial crowd gathered at a few days’ notice at 5.30pm to protest outside the Dáil at the Garda treatment of Dara Quigley, social activist and blogger.
During an apparent mental ill-health episode recently, Dara was apprehended by Gardaí under the Mental Health Act while she was walking in the street naked. One of the Gardaí shared the arrest video on the Whatsapp social media, where it was seen by a great many people before the provider removed it. Dara took her own life five days later, on April 12th.
Dara’s family organised the event and a number of people spoke at it but due to what seemed inadequate public address system and noise of passing traffic, many could not hear what was being said. According to a press report, Dara Quigley was remembered as “a strong and intelligent woman” at a vigil outside Leinster House on Friday evening. Ms Quigley’s brother Seán told a congregation of about 100 people on Kildare Street that his sister had opened the world to him.
“Without her, I don’t know where I would have been. She didn’t just do that with me, she led by example in a lot of ways. She wasn’t afraid and she wasn’t a victim.”
The Justice Department has stated that the officer is suspended on full pay pending disciplinary investigation. Outside the Dáil today many in the crowd were saying that the Garda responsible could post such a video without an expectation of punishment only in a force that has become accustomed to acting with impunity, from the highest to the lowest rank — with the exception of whistleblowers, of course.