Graves of two gardaí vandalised in ‘a new low’

The graves of a number of families — including two gardaí — have been vandalised after a car was driven into a cemetery in Skerries in north Co Dublin.

The incident occurred last Thursday night or early Friday in Ardla cemetery. Gardaí are investigating.

Garda Representative Association spokesman John O’Keeffe said it was “a new low”.

He said: “The vandalisation of any grave is an utter sacrilege. The fact that deceased gardaí — officers who had dedicated their whole lives to serving the public — could have their headstones damaged in the manner in which they were in Skerries simply beggars belief.

“That a loving spouse was also buried in one of those graves make the event all the more jaw-dropping for its pathological insensitivity.”

Mr O’Keeffe said those responsible for the attack need to be caught and dealt with through mandatory minimum sentences.

“The Criminal Damage Act 1991 sets out a maximum sentence of 12 months if convicted in the district court — the most likely venue where this would be heard.

"This is a maximum sentence, not a minimum one. The chances of any perpetrators serving a portion of this time, let alone all, are slim to none. This has to change.

“The persons who did this must now feel the full force of the law. The Irish judiciary must cry halt at some stage to such wanton acts of desecration — vandalising a garda’s grave would be a symbolic starting point for robust sentencing.

"Let us now introduce minimum sentences for anyone who would seek to destroy any grave — including that of any gardaí who have done the State such service.”

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