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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Cherry Orchard

'Disgraceful': Commissioner condemns ramming of garda car in Cherry Orchard

The Garda Public Order Unit has been brought in to the area as a result.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 20th 2022, 12:38 PM

GARDA COMMISSIONER DREW Harris has described an incident in which a vehicle collided with a Garda car in Dublin yesterday evening as “disgraceful”.

Harris, speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Laois, said it was fortunate that the two garda members who were in the vehicle were uninjured. 

The incident occurred at around 7.30pm, after Gardaí responded to an incident of dangerous driving in the Cherry Orchard area of Ballyfermot.

According to a Garda spokesperson, Gardaí saw two vehicles driving “erratically” with both failing to stop when requested.

“Both vehicles failed to stop when requested to do so by Gardaí and one vehicle collided with an official Garda vehicle,” said the spokesperson.

Dramatic video footage of the incident has been widely shared on social media. It shows two cars driving at high speeds and performing hand brake turns in a residential area while a small crowd of young people watch and cheer.

The cars can be seen driving on both sides of the road and travelling the wrong way around a roundabout.

The erratic driving continues after a Garda car arrives on the scene, with its lights flashing. One of the cars then rams into the police vehicle twice, prompting wild cheering from some of the eyewitnesses who were present.

Commissioner Harris said that there has been significant resources given to the area in recent weeks to battle anti-social behaviour. 

He said: “Overall, I would say there’s been vigorous policing operations in that area over the last number of weeks. We’ve seized vehicles and arrests have been made. People have been brought before the courts in terms of driving offences and other antisocial behaviour type of offences and also on offences related to street level drug dealing.

“There’s been a lot of enforcement work and a full investigation is underway. But also then we have to look to tonight and the subsequent nights as well. The public order unit has been stood up over the weekends. In effect, what we’ve done this brings forward our operation in response to anti-social behaviour around the Halloween period. 

Screenshot 2022-09-20 at 13.33.42

Antoinette Cunningham, General Secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and inspectors (AGSI), said the “shocking” incident “shows the dangers Gardaí are exposed to as they go about their duty.”

“Gangs of people encouraging others to ram patrol cars. Disgraceful scenes and terrible to see for AGSI and the Garda Representatives Association. Should be condemned by all,” Cunningham tweeted.

Local councillor Daithí Doolan described the scenes as “terrifying”. “I hope it serves as a wake up call. This community has been ignored for too long. Urgently needs resources and support from Government and senior Gardaí,” the Sinn Féin politician said.

Fianna Fáil TD Cormac Devlin condemned the “utter lawlessness” that occurred during the incident.

“The clips posted online show cars driving erratically and ramming Gardaí without any fear or thought for the Gardaí on duty.

“This is evidence of the shocking incidents Gardaí are forced to deal with as a small proportion of people terrorise a whole community,” the Dún Laoghaire TD said.

“We have to come down much stronger on what is pure lawlessness happening across the capital, and back the Gardaí with the resources and legislation to deal with those who behave with no regard for law or life.

“My thoughts are with the Gardaí having to deal with those incidents this evening as well as the majority of good people being terrorised by these thugs” Devlin added.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Councillor Daithí Doolan, who is from the area, said this is a problem which has been going on for a long time and is no shock to the locals.

He said: “You have people who are terrified, you have people further marginalised, people looking at it on their video cameras and in offices today,” he said.

“Imagine living there – night after night after night. Your children the elderly the vulnerable.”

Gardaí have said that there were no injuries reported during the incident but have asked that anyone who may have witnessed the collision to come forward.

They also appealed for anyone who was driving in the Cherry Orchard area at around 7.30pm, who may have dash cam footage of the incident, to make it available to Gardaí.

“Anyone with any information in relation to this incident should contact Ballyfermot Garda Station on 01 666 7200, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station,” said the spokesperson.

Investigations into the incident are ongoing.

Additional reporting from Céimin Burke and Garreth MacNamee

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