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Stock image of the Garda College, Templemore, Co Tipperary.

Garda claims he was assaulted by colleague inside Garda College during King Charles visit

The gardai involved in the case were staying at the Garda College as they were due on duty to work in the security operation.

A GARDA HAS claimed in court that he was assaulted by a fellow guard as he sought to help a collapsed drunken colleague inside the Garda Training College where they were staying during a visit by then Prince Charles.

The incident involving three gardaí happened as they were staying at the facility in Templemore, Co Tipperary in the early hours of 25 March 2022.

This was during a visit by the senior British royal who had been in Waterford on 24 March on a visit and Charles was due in Cashel, Co Tipperary on 25 March. 

All the gardaí involved are stationed in Kerry – they were deployed to Tipperary to work on the visit. 

Garda Patrick Curran, 35, who is attached to Killarney Garda Station is charged with assault causing harm to Garda John Burke of Tralee Garda Station while they were staying in the Garda College.

The court heard that the gardaí had been socialising separately in pubs in Templemore.

Garda Burke gave evidence before Judge Elizabeth McGrath at Thurles District Court in which he alleged he was attacked inside a room in the Áras Cúchulainn accommodation block. 

The court heard that the gardaí were staying in individual rooms in the college on the same floor. They were due to work the next morning at the visit. 

Burke said in his evidence that on returning to his accomodation from socialising in Polly’s Pub, located across the road from the training College, he found another Garda Cillian Fitzmaurice, who is also stationed in Kerry, in a collapsed state.

He told the court that he had earlier seen Fitzmaurice fall over in a heavily intoxicated state in Polly’s – he was not socialising with him and he was in the company of other gardaí at a nearby table. 

Burke told the court he found Fitzmaurice on his knees crawling in a highly intoxicated state in the accommodation block. 

The witness said: “he [Fitzmaurice] was poisoned drunk”. 

He went to assist him and moved him into one of the rooms but met the accused Garda Curran. Burke said he remonstrated with Curran calling him a “dickhead” and said further: “you’re one dickhead leaving him like this”.

Burke said Curran stood with his fists clenched and asked him in an aggressive manner what did he mean by what he said. Burke said he pushed him back and told him to get away from him.

They then ended up inside one of the rooms and Burke claimed Curran punched him in the head and face. He said he felt a thumb in his eye and a knee in his back. 

When the assault ended the garda said he saw Curran standing in a “livid” state and he said that he felt he was going to be assaulted again if he spoke.  

The victim told the court that he left the room and made his way to the Guard Room – a small building at the gate of the college which acts as a security room for the facility. 

There he met Garda Samantha O’Dowd who was on duty and cared for him.

She told the court that Burke was upset and crying and there were red marks and scratches on his face.

She said that she went to the room where the incident happened and found Fitzmaurice vomiting in a sink. She said she believed he was “extremely intoxicated”.

“I wasn’t getting any sense from him,” the garda said.

O’Dowd told the court that she saw a lamp above the bed had been smashed and was lying on the bed in the room. 

She helped and supported Fitzmaurice to move rooms – while she was attempting to get a coherent explanation of the incident from the intoxicated man she saw that a “Paddy Curran” was ringing repeatedly on Fitzmaurice’s phone.

She said she heard a door opening from an adjoining room and went to look who it was – she met a man who identified himself as Patrick Curran.

She said the accused denied any knowledge of what happened and said he was in bed for the night. 

During cross examination O’Dowd said she had not observed any damage to Curran’s hands and did not notice any injuries to Fitzmaurice. 

Prosecuting counsel read a number of statements into evidence in which gardaí said they had been socialising in Templemore on the night in question. 

Garda Leeanne Hausmann had given evidence that she was socialising with John Burke on the night and had met him the next morning and saw he had a black eye and was shaken.  

Judge McGrath has adjourned the case to find a future date to hear the rest of the case on 20 December.