Wives of senior Garda officers have been videoed and photographed as part of harassment campaigns by criminals, a staff association has said.
The Association of Garda Superintendents (AGS) said recordings and images have been posted, with addresses, on social media.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said these were “disgraceful incidents”, which affected members at all ranks. He said the organisation has acted in previous cases, which have involved intimidation, criminal damage, or threats.
Speaking at the AGS annual conference in Naas, Co Kildare, Supt Declan McCarthy said:
“Members wives’ cars had been videoed, members wives’ cars had been photographed, and members themselves had been photographed.
"This sort of ongoing harassment is impacting on both the physical and mental health of members.
“We’ve had a number of recorded incidents where members’ spouses, in particular, have been added to the mix.
At the conference, the commissioner said: “I think the superintendents’ association [make] a very valid point — not just in respect of their own members, but all members of An Garda Síochána.”
Mr Harris said the organisation, and he as commissioner, had an obligation to protect members and, by extension, their families.
“We have acted where there have been cases of intimidation and indeed criminal damage of members’ homes, and we’ve also acted in respect of threats, on social media as well,” the Garda boss said.
“Where we become aware of such issues — and these are disgraceful incidents —we do act to protect members, as far as possible.”
He said the difficulty was that with social media, a lot of these videos can travel “far and wide” before action can be taken.
He said they work with social media sites to take images down, but “they make their own decisions”.
Also speaking at the conference, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said she was confident the 1,000 garda recruits — as set out in Budget 2023 — is deliverable, while accepting the 800 target for 2022 had not been met.