A criminal has threatened a pregnant garda that he will “rape her and her unborn child”.
The shocking case, one of numerous threats and assaults that have been made at members, emerged yesterday at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors annual conference.
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The garda was left traumatised by the threats and is now being informed every time the suspect applies for bail.
“I have colleagues across the country who are intimidated on a daily basis,” said AGSI general secretary John Jacob.
“One female colleague who’s pregnant contacted me recently in relation to her personal safety, and said she’s concerned every time a particular individual is in court. She is advised if that person is being considered for bail.
“That individual has threatened to rape her and her unborn child.”
Mr Jacob said it was the sort of intimidation and threats that his members are receiving on an ongoing basis.
“It’s expected to wash over us. No other individual in the country is receiving those kind of threats, that’s why we are saying we are unique, that is why we are saying we should be considered for a full restoration of pay immediately,” he said.
The assault cases emerged at the conference after an official report by Garda management showed that garda injury rates, including from assaults, are 10 times higher than the average worker.
Details of the report, revealed in the Irish Examiner on Monday, showed an injury rate of 39.7 per 1,000 gardaí, compared with a national injury rate of 3.4 per 1,000 employees.
It revealed there were 611 occupational injuries in 2014, including 283 assaults, 103 road traffic collisions, 43 contacts with sharp, pointed, or rough objects; 22 needle-stick injuries or stabbings, and six cases of psychological trauma.
The report found three out of 10 incidents involved the garda being off duty for more than one month.
In another case revealed at the conference, AGSI Donegal delegate Sergeant Paul Wallace told how he ruptured discs in his back after being assaulted by a prisoner in Letterkenny.
“We were trying to restrain a prisoner and he lashed out and I came down on some sharp object. I knew I had done serious damage. I soon had pain down my leg.
“The net result was I ruptured discs in my back. I was on the ground for six months and had five to six epidurals. I still suffer to this day. I had to attend the Mater Hospital in Dublin, up and down, and still have to go back now and then.”
In another incident, Sgt Wallace was punched in the face and had his nose broken. He accepted there was an occupational hazard in being a garda, but said: “What we do need is strength in numbers — that’s how people end up getting assaulted when they’re on their own. You have one-man patrols cars, it’s crazy stuff.
“Society has changed. Traditional respect is gone, but you are also seen as a target. Look at the water protests: the level of intimidation that was there towards ordinary members.”
Sgt Wallace said people don’t realise what young members face on the frontline. “The late Tony Golden [murdered last October in Louth] was doing a routine call, to go with a lady to retrieve personal belongings from her house in Omeath. You had all the wringing of hands, what is the protocol around this, why was he on his own? The reality is he was the guard working that evening. He went to do a humanitarian call and paid for it with his life.”
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