End Garda Politicking on Prostitution & Stop Garda Abuse of People in Sex Work

10 February 2022

On the evening of 10 February 2022 our attention was drawn to announcements on social media that the Garda Organised Prostitution Investigation Unit was due to speak at a ‘A Model for Scotland’ lobbying event on 23 February 1922.  An Garda Síochána is an apolitical organisation and should not be speaking at lobbying events.

A Model for Scotland Event Announcement

14 – 21 February 2022

On the 14 February 2022 we launched a petition calling on Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to End An Garda Síochána Politicking on Sex Work. The petition can be viewed here.

Between the 18 and 21 February 2022 Lucy also spoke out on our Twitter about her personal experiences of Garda abuse and the corruption of the Turn of the Red Light campaign. She had remained silent on these issues for a long time. This was hard for her to do, but she felt she had to try to say something in solidarity with other people who have also experienced Gardaí abuse.

22 February 2022

On the evening of the 22 February 2022 we closed our petition on Uplift. We are extremely grateful that over 500 people had signed it at that stage. We then formally sent a copy of the petition to the Garda Commissioner by email.

Finally we released a press release. Please see below:

End Garda Politicking on Prostitution and Stop Garda Abuse of People in Sex Work

23 February 2022: The Petition: An Update. Did we win?

We understand that no representative of An Garda Síochána appeared as a speaker at today’s ‘Harnessing International Evidence: challenging demand & supporting victims’ lobbying event put on by the ‘Model for Scotland Group’ which seeks to further criminalise sex work in Scotland.

As far as we are aware no explanation was provided as to why the Garda speaker was not there speaking as previously advertised.

We can speculate that the merit of our petition and the fantastic support so many people gave it, prompted the Gardaí to back down and withdraw on this occasion.

However, UglyMugs.ie did not receive any communications from the Gardaí to say they were withdrawing from this event.

We are pleased for sex workers in Scotland that today An Garda Síochána was not speaking as part of a lobby group that wants to further criminalise them.

The awfully dishonest presentation on policing in Ireland given by the National Women's Council of Ireland speaker was galling to watch. But different standards apply to paid lobbyists. Police officers are supposed to be apolitical. It is good that the Gardaí weren’t out there lobbying on this today.

We ask the Gardaí, in particular the Commissioner to whom the petition was directed to, to clearly and publicly communicate in the near future that they accept that it was not appropriate for Gardaí to have been participating in such a lobbying event and that Gardaí will not participate in such events in the future.

If the Gardaí won’t make such a statement, we are left concerned that they are not really sorry, that they’ll do it again, and that we’ll have to continually waste precious resources fighting them to be treated fairly.