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Dublin: 4°C Tuesday 7 December 2021

Gardaí received intelligence that officer was under threat weeks before attack

An investigation into the attack is ongoing.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

GARDA MANAGEMENT IS probing how intelligence which outlined a threat to an officer who would later be attacked was never shared with him, TheJournal.ie can reveal.

A member of a Dublin drugs unit has been targeted – with threatening phone calls, intimidation and a physical attack – for investigating a Lithuanian gang  which is responsible for selling millions worth of heroin across Ireland every year.

The gang is operational in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Kerry and Limerick. Members of the criminal outfit are well-known to gardaí.

It is believed that senior management in the garda’s district are now aware that intelligence was available which suggested that the garda’s safety was at risk two weeks before he started receiving threatening phone calls.

From there, the intimidation escalated with gang members presenting at his child’s school.

A number of weeks later, the garda was driving home from work when his car was doused in what medics believe was an acidic solution. His car window was open at the time and he received some first-degree burn injuries as a result. He received treatment in a hospital and was discharged from medics’ care later that day.

The GRA is aware of the incidents and is pressing management in the district to furnish all intelligence on this gang to the injured officer.

The GRA has also been lobbying management for security upgrades to the garda’s home. Garda HQ have been forthcoming and have promised that the safety of the member is its highest priority.

However, he has yet to be issued a Garda Information Message (GIM) – an official warning issued to those who are the subject of a serious threat against their personal safety.

The lead-up

Prior to the acid attack, the garda had his property damaged and received the threatening phone calls. Two well-known members of the gang also turned up outside his child’s school at pickup time.

It is understood that gardaí had conducted a number of raids on the criminal organisation prior to the officer being the focus of intimidation. Management believes the force’s focus on the gang’s criminality was the catalyst for the escalation of its behaviour toward the garda.

In response to the issue, the GRA has called for minimum sentencing for those who attack members of the force.

John O’Keeffe, spokesman for the association, told TheJournal.ie: “The GRA is horrified though not surprised at the level of violence that is directed towards frontline gardaí everyday – up to and including acid attacks.

“The criminal fraternity has no fear of attacking gardaí as there is little or no judicial sanction. The association now calls on government to introduce without delay mandatory minimum sentencing for all attacks on our frontline.”

A spokesman for the Garda Press Office told TheJournal.ie: “As the incident referred to is an ongoing investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“In general terms, any incident of this nature is examined and depending on the circumstances Garda members are provided with support, including but not limited to, the appointment of Family Liaison Officers and personal and home security advice as appropriate.”

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