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The scene where two Gardaí were attacked in Ballyfermot yesterday Leah Farrell/

Taoiseach condemns 'utterly reprehensible' attack on two Gardaí outside pub in Ballyfermot

The two gardaí were responding to an incident last night when the attack occurred.

LAST UPDATE | 21 Nov 2022

TWO GARDAÍ WERE subjected to a “vicious assault” while responding to an incident that has been heavily condemned by the Taoiseach, Justice Minister and Garda management and representatives.

The gardaí – one male and one female – were, according to the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), “kicked and beaten on the ground” in an attack in the Ballyfermot area of Dublin. The incident was filmed and later shared on social media.

Two men and a woman were arrested at the scene following the alleged assault, 

A third man, aged in his 40s, has also been arrested following the incident.

Meanwhile, the woman, aged in her 50s, has been charged and was released from custody. She is set to appear before the Criminal Courts of Justice at a future date

The assault saw both gardaí taken to hospital for treatment, with both now discharged.

In a statement, a Garda spokesperson said that both Gardaí are receiving support from colleagues and local garda management, alongside wider organisational supports.

A video seen by The Journal shows two gardaí – one male and one female – being attacked while on the ground. It appears to show them being kicked and punched while struggling with a number of individuals.

Cheering can be heard during a short clip that has been posted online.

They had been responding to a call concerning a public order incident at a pub on Ballyfermot Road overnight at approximately 12.45am.

A Garda statement said the two gardaí “engaged with a number of individuals on the street”, but both were “assaulted by a number of persons that were present”.

They “called for assistance from nearby colleagues who arrived within a very short period of time,” the statement added. 

Both gardaí were taken by ambulance to St James’ Hospital, where one member has since been discharged and the second remains in hospital pending further assessment “in relation to injuries sustained in the course of the incident”, a statement from the Garda Press Office said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin condemned the attack as “utterly reprehensible” in comments this afternoon.

“I would condemn utterly what happened last evening. That attack on two gardai is reprehensible,” Martin said.

“There can be no toleration for those kinds of assaults on gardai who are out there putting their lives and limb on the line to protect us all in society.

“It is utterly reprehensible what occurred last evening and I know the gardai are following up on that.”

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the attack was “disgusting and thuggish” and vowed that the “appalling incident will not be treated lightly”. 

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald also condemned what she referred to as a “shocking and disgraceful attack on two Gardaí”.

“It is unacceptable that those who go to work every day to keep our communities safe should be met with such brutality in the course of their duties.

“My thoughts are with the two officers, and their families and colleagues. There can be zero-tolerance of such behaviour.”

Assistant Commissioner Angela Willis of the Dublin Region said the gardaí were going about their normal duties when the incident took place. 

“My thoughts this morning are with our two colleagues from Ballyfermot who were viciously assaulted last night whilst going about their normal duties, protecting communities in the Ballyfermot area,” she said.

“I absolutely condemn the actions of the individuals involved in this serious incident and wish the members that were injured a full and speedy recovery.”

The two men arrested at the scene are aged in their 50s and 30s, according to gardaí. 

A spokesperson said they were arrested at the scene for assault contrary to the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 and are currently detained at Ballyfermot Garda Station in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 Criminal Justice Act 1984.

The female suspect, aged in her 50s, was arrested for offences contrary to the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994.

Addressing the incident, the general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) Antoinette Cunningham said she and other gardaí were “deeply shocked” after witnessing the video on social media. 

She said political leaders needed to “get tough on crime” via mandatory sentences for people who assault emergency workers and that Garda resourcing needs to be increased. 

“I’m telling you, to see your own colleagues being kicked and beaten on the ground while people are standing up filming it is really shocking,” she told Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One. 

“I hope political leaders will come out today and condemn this incident. We listened to the Tánaiste at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis talking about Fine Gael getting tough on crime, and that really needs to happen. We really need to get tough on crime.”

In her tweets about the incident, McEntee said she “will not hesitate to take further action to protect our Gardaí and front-line workers”.

The Fine Gael TD added that attacking a Garda “carries a maximum sentence of seven years’ in prison”, further noting that assault causing serious harm carries a maximum life sentence.

Cunningham said there have serious concerns about resourcing for some time.

“We’ve been concerned about resourcing, we’ve been concerned about recruitment into An Garda Siochána, we haven’t achieved what we set out to achieve by way of recruitment. We’ve only had 24 people come into the Garda college this year when we were supposed to have 800.”

Earlier this month, The Journal reported on the increasing number of Garda recruits who quit the force ahead of completing their probation. 

Cunningham added there also needs to be “more accountability” for social media companies to prevent the circulation of such videos.

“They need to stop the circulation of this type of material. Because that’s what’s happening here, you have youngsters uploading this materials and they think that it’s trendy or cool or someway appropriate to do that.”

She said there is a danger otherwise of “copy-cat type incidents” arising in the future if not.

“I think mandatory sentencing of people who assault gardaí has to be introduced,” she added on the radio programme, “otherwise there’s no deterrent”.

The incident comes just two months after another video depicting the ramming of cars of off duty gardaí in Cherry Orchard.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said Fine Gael had shown its rhetoric is “poles apart from action”, pointing to the figure of 2,411 Gardaí who have been assaulted while on active duty over the last 10 years.

“We are talking about hundreds of Gardaí being assaulted every year while serving the community,” Tóibín said in a statement reaction to the Ballyfermot assault. 

With reporting by Niall O’Connor and Press Association