A security company whose employees were attacked in a violent attack while guarding a house in Co Roscommon after an eviction for unlicensed work in the Republic was fined.
GS Agencies Limited of Portadown, Craigavon, Co Armagh has been found guilty of six violations of the Private Security Services Act, which governs the private security sector and sets the criteria that companies providing security services in the republic must establish.
Judge Deirdre Gearty of the Castlerea District Court sentenced the company on Friday to fined € 500 for each of the six violations and awarded the company € 7,500 in costs.
The charges came about almost two years ago by the Private Security Authority (PSA) following an investigation into “providing an unlicensed security service” to a home in Flask, Co Roscommon.
The prosecution and conviction related to security guards who commented on the house after the eviction, and not related to the eviction itself. Evictions or withdrawals are not covered by the Private Security Act and can legally be carried out by anyone without a license is necessary, and if necessary, violence is permissible once a court order has been issued.
The eviction of farmer Anthony McGann, along with his sister and brother, from their home in Falsk, near Strokestown, was ordered by the High Court in December 2018 following a judgment against him on an unpaid debt to KBC Bank.
The eviction was recorded by bystanders and was controversial when the footage emerged. Unknown men with Northern Irish accents used violence.
After the eviction was complete, security guards who worked for GS Agencies Limited effectively moved into the house to maintain a 24/7 security presence. However, three days after the eviction, a large group of people arrived at the house in the early hours of the morning and attacked some of the security guards while others fled.
The group that carried out the attack was estimated at around 20 people, with six security forces vehicles being set on fire and destroyed.
After the attack, the security forces were either taken to hospital or fled the house in Falsk. The next day, the McGann siblings moved back to the property and stayed there, their dispute with KBC in court continued. KBC first received an injunction on the property in 2012 and the case first reached the courts in 2009.
Following the convictions on Friday, PSA Director General Paul Scallan said the case emerged from “agency investigations into security services conducted following a withdrawal.” He added that the PSA has no “legal role in regulating” withdrawals.
“In this case, a security service was provided at a location in Falsk in the days following the take-back. A PSA license is required for such services. In this case, the security provider GS Agencies Limited was not licensed. “
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