Gardaí investigating online threats over Dublin housing protest

Gardaí are investigating online threats made against a garda working in Dublin following the Take Back The City protest earlier this week.

The garda is reported to have been at the eviction on Dublin's North Frederick Street on Tuesday wearing a fire-resistant hood.

The scene on North Frederick St this week
The scene on North Frederick St this week

According to the Mail on Sunday, the man was identified on social media, named and threatened to be shot.

The Facebook post quickly gained traction online and featured a number of threats and comments about the garda.

The protest was held by the housing action group Take Back The City after the High Court ordered the eviction of several people who were occupying a house in the city centre.

Gardaí came under fire after images emerged of officers wearing fire-resistant hoods alongside balaclava-wearing men from a private security firm.

Responding to the news of the threats to the garda online, An Garda Síochána issued a statement this morning saying "appropriate supports" have been put in place by garda management in order to protect the welfare and safety of the garda member.

The incident was condemned by the new garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

Speaking today, Commissioner Harris said: "Threats and intimidation against garda members who are only doing their job to keep people safe and uphold lawful order are completely unacceptable.

"I utterly condemn it," he said.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan also condemned the naming of the garda and threats against him online.

"This serves to highlight the challenges facing gardaí in upholding the law on our behalf and the importance of all right-thinking people supporting them in doing that," he said.

"Threats against them are threats against the rule of law and not acceptable. I expect the matter will be fully investigated by gardaí."

Housing minister Eoghan Murphy said he was "disgusted" by the threats, telling RTE: "It is utterly wrong.

"We talked about this earlier in the week when the protests were happening, about the safety of the gardai - and that has to be paramount as they go about protecting the public.

"And I do hope that anyone involved in these protests, any political organisations or protesting organisations - while of course they have a right to protest - they distance themselves from this immediately.

"Because it's completely wrong."

Minister for Health Simon Harris also voiced his condemnation on Twitte, saying it was "disgusting" to see the threats against the garda online.

"We depend on them to keep us, our families, our communities safe. A threat against them is a threat against us all," he said.

John O'Keeffe, Communications Director of the Garda Representative Association said the body "unequivocally condemns" the online abuse.

"The Garda Representative Association unequivocally condemns the online abuse of and threats against those of our membership who were working as public servants at the recent North Frederick Street protest.

"They have led to vile social media abuse and threats where our members, and often their families are intentionally identified.

The GRA Membership go to work everyday as public servants, equipped with little more than an extendible baton and pepper spray to defend themselves and the public.

"The Association also acknowledges and appreciates Commissioner Drew Harris's prompt condemnation of the abuse and we look forward to working with him to ensure that such threats against our membership and indeed all public and civil servants, involved in the enforcement of court orders, are fully investigated and processed in accordance with the law."

Digital Desk

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