By Michael MacLeod and Sean O’SullivanIn a world that is still reeling from the events of July, the murder of a prominent journalist in Dublin has led to a renewed push to use psychological assessment tools to tackle violent behaviour and violent extremism.
The controversial programme, called “parallel processes” by the Irish government, aims to assess mental health and wellbeing and identify which individuals have “a high risk of becoming a terrorist or extremist”.
The aim is to prevent these individuals from re-entering the community, and to identify those who are “highly likely to become terrorists and extremists again”.
The programme has been welcomed by some, including those who have criticised the controversial methods.
But the project has also been criticised for its potential to be used to create a surveillance profile of individuals, particularly if used as part of a wider investigation.
“This is a surveillance tool,” said Dr. Martin Kelly, a psychiatrist at the University of Limerick.
“We are not allowed to use it as a tool of last resort.”
The “psychological process” used by the program is the same that has been used in the US and Australia.
“They are using the same technique, the same procedures,” Dr. Kelly said.
“The process is very similar.”
The Irish Government has defended the use of the program, saying it has been “informative and useful” in identifying individuals with “a low risk of terrorism”.
It said that “it’s a measure of mental health that individuals with an IQ below 70 are at high risk for terrorist behaviour”.
But critics say the program “takes advantage of people who are already vulnerable” and that it creates “profiling and surveillance tools” without a clear rationale.
In one case, an assessment of a teenager who has been in contact with an Islamist was “used as a form of surveillance” for the programme.
“I’m not sure that the process is an appropriate tool for people to use,” Dr Kelly said, “given the risk that the programme is putting people in.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that the program had been approved by the Minister for Justice and Public Safety, and that the use would continue.
It said it was not currently in use.
The program, which began in 2014, has been widely criticised for creating a profile of people, and has drawn the ire of many members of the public, including politicians and the media.
Critics also fear that the “psychology process” will be used for mass surveillance, as the government has argued.
“Parallel processes are often used in intelligence-gathering operations where the use can be dangerous,” said Senator for the Western Isles Richard Boyd Barrett, who also chairs the Irish parliament’s intelligence and security committee.
“They are also used in criminal investigations to collect information and evidence from suspects,” he said.
The use of “paradigm” surveillance techniques in the United States, for example, was used to track a man who had been charged with a series of bank robberies in Chicago.
In the UK, a government review in 2015 found that the parallel process system had “not been subjected to rigorous, robust or transparent scrutiny”.
The review was led by the Director of Public Prosecutions, and recommended that it should be re-examined.
The review also noted that there was “no robust oversight of the use or misuse of the system”.
In the United Kingdom, some experts have called for a review of the “parasite” model of mass surveillance.
The US is one of the countries that has implemented this “para-process” model.
The programme has also prompted the Government to release a report detailing the findings of a government study, which found that, in the UK “there was no evidence of any evidence of widespread use of parallel processes in the U.K.”
The “psychologists” employed by the Department of Justice and the UPC have said that they are “deeply concerned” about the potential for misuse of “psychologist-driven” parallel processes.
“It would appear that this system has the potential to create the impression of a large-scale criminal investigation without any evidence to support the conclusion,” said Prof. Paul Williams, a professor of criminology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
“A systematic review of such systems would not be possible without an appropriate balance between the privacy interests of individuals involved, the public interest and the need to ensure that the risks to public safety are sufficiently assessed.”
The government has also defended the system, saying that “we are not targeting any specific group.”
“The government is not targeting anyone,” said a spokesperson for Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan.
“But we are doing the best that we can to protect the public.”
Dr. Kelly says that “there’s been a great deal of talk in the press about the use being done on the basis of people’s ethnicity, gender, religion, or race.
And we don’t see this as the case.
There is no evidence