Garda assaulted and doused in petrol discharged from hospital

Attack occurred near Blacklion at about 2am last Monday morning, February 28.

The garda who was savagely beaten before being doused in petrol in a West Cavan incident earlier this week has been discharged from hospital.

The young member of the force, who was also threatened at gunpoint, was discharged from Sligo General Hospital where he received treatment for injuries and well being kept under observation with suspected concussion.

He is now understood to be recuperating at home.

The garda, a native of Roscommon, is continuing to assist gardaí investigating the matter, which is been led from an incident room set up at Cavan Garda Station.

The garda, who has been stationed in Blacklion for the past two years, and has been six years in the force, was attacked at about 2am last Monday morning, February 28.

The motive for the assault remains unknown, however the incident has led to agitations over the need for additional policing manpower in the border region.

It has also sparked concerns among rank-and-file with regards members working alone, particularly in isolated locations and late at night.

The uniformed officer had been on duty in the Loughan area of Blacklion when its understood he approached a car acting suspiciously in the area.

After colleagues received a panicked call the “disorientated” sounding garda seeking back up, the North Western Region Headquarters Control Room in Galway were forced to identify the member's geographical positioning using his AVPLS (Automatic Vehicle & Personnel Location System).

Uniform colleagues, supported by Armed Support Units, were quickly dispatched to the scene, and the garda was subsequently found at laneway next what is locally known as White Father's Caves. His marked patrol vehicle also present.

In a statement issued, An Garda Siochana say there was a “strong smell of an accelerant” in the air, believed now to be petrol, and that the garda's uniform was “saturated with an accelerant”. He furthermore had “signs of physical injuries.”

The garda was then taken to Sligo University Hospital, and the scene at laneway at Loughan was sealed off to facilitate a Garda Technical Bureau examination.

Gardaí say they are investigating “all the circumstances” about what happened.

Door-to-door enquiries have begun in the local area, and gardaí appealing to anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious to come forward.

In particular, An Garda Síochána would like to speak to any person driving on the N16, Cavan, passing Loughan House Prison, or the R206 and R207 at their junction with the N16, between 7pm Sunday 27th February 2022 and 3am Monday 28th February 2022, and in particular any person with video footage (dashcam or other format) to contact investigating Gardaí.

The shocking attack on an on duty officer has been strongly condemned, with demands now for mandatory prison sentences to be handed down for anyone who assaults a member of An Garda Siochana.

According to departmental figures there were close to 380 gardaí assigned to the Cavan/Monaghan Division towards the end of last year, compared to just below 400 a decade ago.

Last year a total of 21 gardaí suffered at the hands of an assault in the Cavan-Monaghan District, one of the highest numbers in the country, and is one of the largest per any district outside of a major urban centre in the country.

“Unfortunately this horrific and vicious assault reminds us of the dangers members face on a daily basis,” says Garda James Morrisroe, Cavan-Monaghan Divisional GRA representative, who sides with the view that “mandatory” prison sentences are required for people found guilty of such attacks.

He adds that gardaí working alone, “particularly in isolated locations need to see that their safety is a priority for our employer and this has to be demonstrated by having adequate numbers of members on duty who have adequate transport, driver training and technology such as body cams, currently there are deficiencies that are leaving members at risk in an environment of increasing assaults on our members.”