Independent TD’s Mattie McGrath, Carol Nolan and Michael Collins have said their meeting with the CEO of the Private Security Authority, Mr Paul Scallan, has given rise to serious concerns about the capacity of the state to effectively sanction unlicensed security personnel. The group had organised the meeting to try and address the apparent lack of sanctions for those who engage in aggressive acts of intimidation while purporting to be linked to licensed security operations:
“This meeting was organised as part of our wider engagement with all stakeholders involved in the repossession of homes or property; specifically how those repossessions are conducted.
Overall we had a very constructive engagement, where significant amounts of detail relating to acts of violence carried out by rogue operators and indeed some licensed operators, was put to the CEO of the PSA by Mr Jerry Beades on behalf of Friends of Banking Ireland.
As elected representatives, our over-riding concern at the meeting was to try and ascertain what we can do at the legislative level to try and strengthen protections for families and communities who experience threats, aggression and even assaults at the hands of those claiming to have legitimate authority.
It was made absolutely clear that the current provisions of The Private Security Services Act 2004 which is the primary legislation under which the Private Security Authority operates, is grossly inadequate and needs to be urgently revised or amended.
We are aware that the Board of the PSA contains representatives from an Assistant Garda Commissioner as well as the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Justice and Equality.
In light of that it is highly unlikely that government is not aware of the scale of the problem that exists.
What we are calling for is thorough, sector wide public consultation on this issue so that the experiences of families and ordinary people who have experienced intimidation can be fed into any changes that may emerge.
At present, these people are operating as if it is the Wild West and that has to stop. If that includes the PSA being given more sanctioning or investigative powers then so be it” concluded Deputy McGrath.