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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019

'There's only one police force in Ireland': Top garda slams online vigilante groups

Earlier this year two separate men were confronted after being wrongly identified as a convicted paedophile.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/Sander van der Werf

THE HEAD OF the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau has discouraged people from carrying out vigilante activity in order to ‘trap’ suspected wrongdoers.

“The view from An Garda Síochána in relation to vigilante groups is that we’d ask people to report anything suspicious, whether it be online or offline, to their local garda station who will then investigate the matter,” Detective Superintendent Michael Gubbins said to

We can’t have people with their own vigilante groups going around. There’s only one police force in Ireland and that’s An Garda Síochána.

Superintendent Gubbins was discussing the general phenomenon of vigilante groups and not commenting on any particular case.

He encouraged people to get involved in community groups such as Neighbourhood Watch.

They’re coordinated and organised by the garda organisation and they are the official means that we would work with communities in relation to that matter.

The head of the cyber crime bureau couldn’t provide information on whether anyone in Ireland has been convicted of a sexual offence against a child on the back of activity from a vigilante group.

Earlier this year two separate men were confronted by vigilante groups after being wrongly identified as convicted paedophile Anthony Luckwill.

One of the men, David Murray, needed garda protection after he was confronted by a group in Monasterevin.

“I am extremely concerned about how I was accused and harassed, but most of all I am alarmed that photos taken of me in Finlay’s pub are being spread on social media by self-appointed vigilantes,” Murray told

The subject of vigilante groups came to prominence in particular this week after one UK-based group confronted RTÉ producer Kieran Creaven and rang police to arrest him. Creaven has been charged with attempting to meet a girl under 16 years of age following grooming and also with attempting to cause or incite a girl aged 13-15 to engage in non-penetrative sexual activity.

READ: Another man has been wrongly identified as sex offender Anthony Luckwill>

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Ceimin Burke

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