The Chief Executive of the Policing Authority has said she thinks that getting independent data and evidence that policing is performed consistently across the country remains elusive.
Speaking at the launch of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties report 'Human Rights in a Pandemic', Helen Hall said that despite all the challenges and questions about consistency, overall the Authority's assessment is that An Garda Síochána's policing performance was very good and resilient during the pandemic.
She said that protest is legitimate in a pandemic, but it is challenging.
She said that the Authority repeatedly supported the right of people to protest but also urged the gardaí to adopt a consistent approach to policing protests regardless of whom they are initiated by.
She said there is a distinction to made on the difference between the right to protest and the policing of a protest, which she said should really comply with human rights standards.
Also speaking at the report, Chief Executive of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Liam Herrick, said that it is deeply disappointing that the Government is now proposing to extend temporary emergency powers.
He said that whatever excuse there might have been for emergency measures in the first couple of months of the pandemic, there is no justification for failing to respect the Oireachtas at this point in time.
Mr Herrick said that Covid-19 has been the most impactful event in terms of our human rights in a generation.
He said for many areas of our lives the Minister for Health has made regulations and laws without any Oireachtas input.
CEO of Age Action Paddy Connolly has said ageism and ageist attitudes exist in the policy making system and that has driven many actions taken during the pandemic.
He said that the representation of older people as frail, needing protection, and requiring cocooning, has been the thing that has upset older people most during the past 15 months.
He said we know thousands of lives were saved by public health measures but we still need to take stock and consider how we might do better.
Age Action again called for an Office of a Commissioner for Older Persons to be established.
The group is also looking for an inquiry to be conducted in to the impact of Covid-19 related measures on the rights of older people including the level of oversight of care in nursing homes.
He said it had been profoundly disturbing to watch events unfold in nursing homes over the last 15 months.
Asked about visits by family members to nursing homes, Mr Connolly said as time goes on and staff and older people have been vaccinated it is concerning that nursing homes have been slow to open up access to older people.
He said that one of the issues is that many of these are private nursing homes and that there is no direct leverage in terms of getting private institutions to open up to family members.