Monday, November 21, 2022

Updated: 2.30pm

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has condemned a serious assault on two gardaí in Dublin in the early hours of Monday morning, describing the incident as “reprehensible”.

One garda remains in hospital following the incident in Ballyfermot during which the two officers were assaulted “by a number of people” while responding to a public order incident at a pub on Ballyfermot Road at approximately 12.45am.

Two males, one aged in his 50s and the other in his 30s, were later arrested under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 and are being held at Ballyfermot Garda station.

The two officers — one male and one female — were taken to St James’s Hospital, where one remains “pending further assessment in relation to injuries sustained”.

A video, widely shared on social media, showed the two officers being attacked on the street in the Dublin suburb. On Monday, the force asked for people not to share the footage.

No toleration

Responding to the news, the Taoiseach said there can be “no toleration” for these types of assaults “on gardai who are out there putting their lives on the line to protect us all in society”.

“It is utterly reprehensible,” Mr Martin added.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, Garda Representative Association (GRA) president Brendan O’Connor, echoed the Taoiseach’s sentiment, adding that “everyone in the country is shocked”.

“Even gardaí, who sadly are used to being aware of such incidents, are shocked at the voracity and sustained nature of the assault.

“To think that two gardaí attended at what in our field of work is a relatively routine call and found themselves under attack is shocking,” Mr O’Connor said.

“It shows the dangers that are out there, and while our members are prepared for dangerous scenes like this (which can) turn violent so quickly, there is a massive escalation in the levels of violence that our members are facing.

“Something needs to be done to turn this tide,” he added.

Earlier, the general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) Antoinette Cunningham called for mandatory sentencing for anyone who attacks a member of An Garda Síochána, criticising the handing-down of suspended sentences in previous instances of garda assaults.

She called on Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to set in train the process for introducing mandatory sentencing, adding: “Otherwise there’s no deterrent.”

Ms Cunningham also renewed calls for a roll-out of garda body cameras in the wake of the assaults.

A full investigation has been launched into the incident and gardaí are appealing for any witnesses or those with footage of the assault to contact Ballyfermot Garda station 01 6667200, the Garda Confidential Line 1800-666 111 or any Garda station.

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