Irish Law

Irish Law


Section 6: Use or engage in any threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or being reckless as to whether a breach of the peace may be occasioned. Punishment if found guilty: 3 months imprisonment, 672 euros fine or 100hrs community service.

Section 8: It shall be an offence for any person, without lawful authrity or reasonble excuse, to fail to comply with a direction given by a member of the Garda Síochána under this section. Where a member of the Garda Síochána finds a person in a public place and without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, that such person is or has been acting in a manner contrary to the provisions of another section (e.g. 9) or without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, is acting in a manner which consists of loitering in a public place in circumstances, which may include the company of other persons, that give rise to a reasonable apprehension for the safety of persons or the safety of property or for the maintenance of the public peace and they don’t move when asked. Punishment if found guilty: 6 months imprisonment or 672 euros fine.

Section 9: Wilful obstruction. Any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, wilfully prevents or interupts the free passage of any person or vehicle in any public place shall be liable in summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 200 euros.
If you are arrested for a public order offence like the ones outlined above, you will be arrested under “Section 24”. This is where you have to give your name and address.
Legal Guidelines.

General: Have a solicitor’s number written on your arm if you are doing a protest or action where you may be arrested. You are not required to carry I.D. but it can be useful if you need to confirm your name if you are arrested. You can only be asked for your name and address if you are suspected of or known to have committing a crime. Say nothing until you know what section they are claiming to be using.

If arrested: Make sure you get the arresting officer’s name and number and the exact reason for your arrest/section you are being arrested under. You do not have to  give your date of birth, nationality or any other details other than your name and address. Insist on being seen by a doctor if you were injured by the Gardai during your arrest or detention. Don’t sign anything other than you list of belongings. Even if you are interviewed, you have the right to remain silent or to say “no comment”. When detained, you must be issued with a leaflet outlining your legal rights – you can ask for your own solicitor at any time.

For drivers: If you are stopped, question why (under which section, get the name of the Gardai stopping you, etc.) Make sure your vehicle is road-worthy (especially if you are using it for protests and actions!) Under the Road Traffic Act you are not required to exit or unlock any part of your vehicle. You can pass the driver’s license and insurance papers out through a gap in the window and, if you don’t have your documents, you can produce them within 10 days at your local police station. Passengers are you required to give any information. Gardai have no right to search your vehicle or ask where you are going.

Stop & search: Gardai can only search you or your vehicle without a warrant if they use the following: Offences against the State Act, Misuse of Drugs Act, Criminal Law Act or Offensive Weapons Act.

Know Your Rights Criminal Justice and Garda Powers (pdf)