The Prison Officers’ Association (POA) has described a firebomb attack on a prison officer’s car in Cork over the weekend as deeply “disturbing and sinister”,
POA spokesman Jim Mitchell said the incident in the Blarney area on Saturday — the second such attack on a prison officer’s car in that area in two years — highlights the difficult nature of the job.
“It shows how the risks of our job don’t stop at the prison gates,” he said.
Garda investigations into the incident are ongoing with the results of forensic tests awaited.
The incident occurred in an estate near Blarney, around 1am on Saturday.
The car, which was parked outside the prison officer’s family home, was gutted after a suspected firebomb was thrown through its windscreen. Two suspects were seen running away.
Firefighters arrived quickly and extinguished the blaze but not before the car was gutted and extensive scorch damage was caused to the front of the house.
It is the fourth arson attack in the Blarney area in recent years.
Blarney Garda Station was gutted in an overnight arson attack in October 2008, forcing gardaí to move into temporary accommodation nearby. Eight months later, arsonists unsuccessfully targeted the temporary office.
A petrol bomb was thrown into a Gatso van parked in the Tower area on August 27, 2009, as a garda sat inside. A man who was subsequently charged in connection with that incident was found not guilty by direction of the trial judge in April 2013 following legal argument around the legality of his arrest.
In May 2015, a prison officer’s car was firebombed outside her home in the Blarney area, just two weeks after a failed firebomb attack.
Gardaí have appealed to anyone with information in relation to this latest incident to contact Gurranabraher garda station.
Meanwhile, Blarney resident and former lord mayor of Cork Joe O’Callaghan described the weekend incident as an “outrageous attack by thugs”.
He said: “Hopefully those responsible for this cowardly act will be apprehended and dealt with accordingly.
“The law should massively increase sentences for aggravated violence against people and their property and the judiciary should wake up and realise this.
“Society has become indifferent and cowed by the level of violence and the influence of PC brigades who concentrate more on the plight of criminals rather than victims.”
He called on local people to rally around the prison officer’s family.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.