Frontline supervisors have called on Garda management to “fully investigate” any online threats against a detective sergeant who discharged his firearm during a tense incident in Longford last Monday.
The garda is the subject of a Garda Ombudsman investigation into the incident, during which a male received minor injuries as a result of the garda apparently firing at an Alsatian dog.
The GSOC probe followed a referral by the district officer in line with legislation directing the ombudsman to investigate where the conduct of a garda may have resulted in the death or serious injury of a person.
The detective is receiving protection, in the form of Garda patrols, at his home. He is said to be nervous following reported social media threats which made references to where he lived.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) told the Irish Examiner: “It is an unacceptable situation that gardaí performing their duty are targeted with threats on social media. AGSI condemn any such threats unequivocally.
“Threats made against any member of An Garda Síochána for performing their duty must be taken seriously by the Garda authorities and fully investigated.
“Individuals who make serious threats must be identified and prosecuted.”
Garda management has said that no “credible” threats had been received to date.
The detective is understood to have volunteered to go to an incident at Ferriskill, between Granard and Edgeworthstown, shortly before 5pm, as uniformed members were tied up and he knew some of the parties.
Online footage of the tense incident shows the garda being pulled by his tie and, according to sources, a dog — an Alsatian — had hold of it.
The detective can be heard saying to a man to “call him off” before firing a shot from his official firearm. It is thought that the bullet hit the dog then ricocheted, hitting the man in the lower leg.
The dog has not been found amid suspicions it has been buried somewhere. Despite reports of searches, it is understood none have yet been carried out.
Proof of the presence and actions of the dog, and the perceived threat it posed to the detective, will form part of the GSOC investigation into whether the discharge of his weapon was justified.
This is not the first time gardaí have been threatened in the area. Sources said a viable device was placed at the home of a garda recently but did not go off.
Tensions in the area are high given Garda operations against an organised crime gang, involving the seizures of stolen vehicles and machinery worth over €550,000 in searches last Wednesday and the previous Thursday.
Garda members on the ground are concerned at their staff levels to deal with any threats, claiming there are only three uniformed members on duty during night shifts.
Two independent witnesses present at Monday’s incident are said to be key to the investigations by gardaí and GSOC.
This couple had travelled from Cork to retrieve their van and had called gardaí to assist them.