Cork prison officers’ car destroyed in petrol bomb attack

Explosive device thrown through windscreen of vehicle as it sat outside officer’s home

Gardaí say they are exploring all possible motives of the latest attack. Photograph: Frank Miller/File

Gardaí say they are exploring all possible motives of the latest attack. Photograph: Frank Miller/File

 

Gardaí in Cork have begun an investigation after a car belonging to two prison officers was targeted and destroyed in a petrol bomb attack while parked outside their home in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Gardaí believe the petrol bomb was thrown through the windscreen of the car as it was parked outside the prison officers’ house near Blarney at about 1am.

The prison officers heard the explosion and raised the alarm. Units of Cork City Fire Brigade attended the scene and extinguished the blaze, but the car was completely destroyed in the attack.

Gardaí from Blarney and Gurranebraher have begun an investigation, carrying out door to door inquiries and checking for CCTV footage in the estate.

A Garda technical team also carried out a forensic examination of the car and the scene.

The attack is the third on a prison officer in the area in just over two years and follows two attacks on a car belonging to a female prison officer in May 2015.

In the first incident, a pipe bomb was thrown into the woman’s car overnight but it failed to explode. Two weeks later, another pipe bomb was thrown at the car and it detonated, destroying the vehicle.

Gardaí say it is too early to determine whether the most recent attack is linked to the earlier two incidents and they are keeping an open mind as to a possible motive.

Saturday’s early morning incident was strongly condemned by Prison Officers Association deputy general secretary Jim Mitchell, who described the attack as “a worrying development”.

“We are very concerned with what transpired last night with regard to two of our members - it’s early stages in the Garda investigation but it seems someone in the area is targeting prison officers,” he said.

“When something like this happens, it goes to highlight the difficult and dangerous job of the prison officers; a job that doesn’t end at the prison gates and continues well after the hours of work.

“It is a huge concern to us but it’s prudent to let gardaí do their work and I’m sure they will be dedicating all the resources available to them to find those responsible for this dangerous incident.”