Your rights in a garda station interview

your rights in a garda station interview

  • Having a solicitor present during interviews is a right under an EU Directive that Ireland has not brought in yet. The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed Gardaí to allow solicitors sit in interviews when requested. The Gardaí will allow you to have a solicitor with you during an interview.
  • You have the right to speak to a solicitor without any Garda being in the room. You also have the right to ask to speak to your solicitor if you feel you need legal advice in the middle of the interview. 
  • If your annual income is below €20,316 you will automatically qualify for Legal Aid in the Garda Station. If you are under 18 you should qualify for legal aid and can speak to solicitor about your income if it is in excess of this amount.
  • Only two Gardaí may interview you and there cannot be more than four Gardaí in the room at any time.
  • Each interview cannot last longer than four hours.
  • You have the right to remain silent. This right is contained in our constitution.
  • In certain specific circumstances, if you refuse to answer certain questions a judge or jury may consider your refusal or failure to answer a question as supporting other evidence of your guilt in the case. The law in this area is very complicated and so the Gardaí must give you an opportunity to consult with a solicitor before you decide whether or not to answer such questions.
  • The Gardaí will record your interview by writing it down. They will then read it back to you at the end of the interview in order to check its accuracy. The Gardaí should also video the interview; however they do not have to do this if it is impractical to do so. You can only get access to the tape if you are prosecuted and then apply to the court to view it.
  • You should only sign a statement made to the Gardaí once you have talked it over with your solicitor.
  • You should always look for advice from a solicitor when giving a voluntary statement to Gardaí and your solicitor can sit in with you when you are giving the statement.

your rights if you are under 18 years of age

  • You can be charged if you are under 18. However, the Gardaí must follow certain procedures when dealing with young people.
  • The Gardaí must inform your guardian or parents that you are in custody, the reason for this and that you have the right to a solicitor. They must tell your parents/guardian to come to the station as soon as possible.
  • You have the right to be told in clear, easy to-understand language that you are under arrest and the reason for your arrest.
  • You cannot be questioned by the Gardaí without your parents or guardian being present. The only exceptions to this are: if the Gardaí cannot contact your parents/guardian; if your parents/guardian cannot come to the station in a reasonable amount of time; if the Gardaí believe that you, other people or your property are at risk if questioning is delayed; if the Gardaí believe that your parents/guardian are involved in the offence or that your parents/guardian may cause an obstruction of justice.
  • If Gardaí decide to interview you without your parents/guardian present, they must try to get another relative or responsible adult to be present at the interview. Often, this is the local peace commissioner.
  • The Gardaí must do their best to ensure that you are not detained with people over the age of 18, unless there is no other facility available.

Your rights and disabilities

  • If you have an intellectual disability, you must be treated similarly to a person under the age of 18.
  • If you have a hearing disability, you cannot be questioned without an interpreter being present unless you sign away this right. If you cannot get access to an interpreter, you must be questioned in writing.
  • You have the right to an interpreter if you cannot understand what is happening.