Repairs to Garda vehicles targeted in ‘ramming’ incidents since 2019 have cost the State almost €625,000, figures have revealed.
Footage showing a collision between a patrol car and another vehicle as onlookers cheered went viral on social media last month, and gardaí investigating the matter have since made five arrests.
However, new data from the Department of Justice suggests that the ramming incident in Ballyfermot, Dublin, was not an unprecedented event.
The cost of damage caused as a result of Garda vehicles being rammed by other cars since the beginning of 2019 has amounted to €623,424, averaging over €166,000 a year.
Annual costs were as high as €252,496 in 2019 but decreased to €187,417 and €121,648 during 2020 and 2021, respectively. To date this year, damage worth €70,863 has been caused by ramming incidents.
The figures were revealed by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee in response to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD for Kerry, Brendan Griffin.
“I can assure the deputy that I strongly condemn any assault on, or action that causes harm to, serving members of An Garda Síochána or any action that causes damage to Garda resources or public property,” Ms McEntee said.
In recent weeks, the issue of Garda cars being rammed has emerged in the media.
Footage of an incident in Ballyfermot caused outrage last month, with two gardaí injured when their vehicle was hit.
Earlier this week, a man was jailed for four-and-a-half years for reversing into a patrol car in Santry in 2018, while a man accused of ramming six Garda cars in Cork last week has been remanded in custody for three weeks.
Separately, a man was refused bail at Cork District Court after a Garda patrol van was allegedly rammed by a stolen car in Ballintemple in recent weeks.