Demands compulsory sentencing after two Gardaí injured in assault

TWO Gardaí were injured in separate attacks in Kerry as rescue workers’ representatives again called for mandatory penalties for those who attack Gardaí, paramedics, nurses and firefighters in the line of duty.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) said attacks on its members have increased by 57 percent over the past five years — an increase from just over 700 attacks in 2016 to 1,096 attacks in 2021.

Anecdotal evidence says Ireland is set to see a further surge in attacks on Gardaí this year, with officers in Kerry, Cork and Dublin being attacked in recent weeks.

Both officers injured in the separate and unrelated Kerry attacks will make full recoveries after avoiding serious injuries.

However, both required medical attention for the injuries sustained.

An officer was attacked in Listowel early last Sunday when he was attacked by a man he was about to arrest for a public order incident.

A man in his 20s was later arrested and questioned about the matter.

A second officer was injured after trying to stop a street brawl in Ballyheigue in the early hours of Friday.

No one was arrested in connection with this incident.

Kerry Gardaí, as part of her investigation into both incidents, is examining CCTV security camera footage and is urging anyone with information to get in touch.

The GRA said it was clear the justice system needed to take a tough approach to those who endanger members of the emergency services simply by trying to do their job.

GRA officer Frank Thornton said compulsory sentences for such offenders are long overdue.

“Mandatory sentencing is long overdue to act as a real deterrent to those initiating these attacks on all frontline emergency workers such as gardai, hospital, paramedics and our fellow firefighters,” he said.

“Statistics released by the Justice Department over the past five years provide a telling insight into the reality of life on the front lines.”

Mr Thornton said it was very worrying to see such an increase in attacks on gardaí since 2016 – and warned courts they need to consider how unacceptable it was for members of the emergency services to be targeted.

“There is no excuse for unprovoked attacks as we, as members of An Garda Síochána, have the right to expect to return to our families after each day of service in the same condition in which we left our families and homes.”

Almost half of the injuries sustained by Gardaí on duty are the direct result of attacks against them – nearly 1,500 percent of the injuries sustained by other professionals in the course of their duties.

“I believe that if we, as a society, are to keep an unarmed police force, we must protect An Garda Síochána members through mandatory conviction of all attacks on Gardaí – and through court sentences that properly recognize this.”

Groups of representatives of firefighters, paramedics and medical professionals have also expressed concern about the increasing number of violent attacks they are being subjected to in the performance of their duties. Demands compulsory sentencing after two Gardaí injured in assault

Fry Electronics Team

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