Man stuck cattle needle into off-duty garda

A file is being prepared for the DPP after an off-duty female garda had a cattle needle stuck into her buttock by a man in a busy pub last weekend.

Doctors have put the woman on a medical treatment programme for possible HIV or hepatitis infection and it will be six months before she can be given the all clear; it is understood she has been left with a visible puncture wound.

The man, believed to be a farmer in his 40s, was carrying the needle in his fist and one source said it had a hollow point measuring 1cm.

He is believed to have selected the woman at random as she waited to be served in McPhails, a popular bar in Drogheda, Co Louth, in the early hours of last Friday, Dec 28. He was not aware she was an off-duty garda in her 20s, who was socialising with friends.

She was waiting at the bar when she felt a sting in her buttock and thought she had been struck with a Taser-type weapon by someone behind her.

She turned round and grabbed the hand of the culprit and it was closed into a fist. When she demanded that he open it, she saw there was a needle in his hand.

Gardaí from Drogheda were called and the man and two of his friends were arrested. They are believed to be farmers from Co Louth.

It is believed they travelled to Drogheda for a night out but it is not clear why they had the cattle needle with them.

The needle has been seized as evidence in the investigation and a source said it measures about 1.5in long and the hollow tip is about 1cm wide. It will be forensically tested and examined. The needle folds into an attachment and the unit measures about 3in in total.

The injured garda and the needle were taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital where staff identified the needle as being for use in bovines.

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