Drugs gang suspected of ordering arson attack on garda’s home

The man was at home in Dundalk with his pregnant wife and two children at the time

The home of a garda was significantly damaged in a suspected arson attack in Dundalk, Co Louth, on Sunday night. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

A Border-based drugs gang has emerged as the most likely suspects for an arson attack on a Garda's home in Dundalk on Sunday night.

The Garda, who is based in the Cavan/Monaghan division, was at his home with his heavily pregnant wife and two young children when what is believed to have been a petrol bomb was throw at the outside of the house.

The bomb ignited the outside of the house and nearby trees with the heat of the flames cracking the upstairs windows.

The family escaped after being alerted of the flames by a neighbour. They are uninjured but “very shaken”, a source said.


The garda had been involved in stopping the car of a suspected drug dealer for a search three days ago. No drugs were found in the car but illegal substances were found in a follow-up search of a house.

Investigators believe criminals associated with the man who was stopped ordered the attack on the garda’s home.

The gang likely hired someone locally to carry out the attack, gardaí believe. CCTV shows a male throwing an incendiary device before pulling his hood up and running down a laneway.

“It’s obvious they knew the lay of the land so they were more than likely locals,” a source said.

Fire services arrived at the scene in the Bay Estate shortly after 11pm and doused the flames.

The fire station is located four minutes’ drive from the house. “If it was across town, the house would be gone, no question,” a source said.

It is the third attack on a garda’s home in the Dundalk area since 2018. Local gardaí have carried out a technical and forensic examination of the scene and are are appealing for witnesses to come forward, particularly “anyone who was in the Bay Estate area between 10.30pm and 11.30pm.”

They are also appealing for information on a white van which was seen in the Bay Estate area at approximately 3pm on Sunday.

“Anyone with any information is asked to contact the incident room at Dundalk Garda Station on (042) 938 8400 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111,” the Garda said.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he was shocked to learn of the "callous attack" on the home of a member of An Garda Síochána.

“This despicable act demonstrates a reckless disregard for human life and the laws of the land which seek to protect us all. The fact that the attack was against the private family home of a Garda member, with his young family asleep inside, is both sinister and disgusting,” he said.

“Members of An Garda Síochána perform vital work, strongly supported by the communities they serve. An attack on a Garda is an attack on the entire community.”

The attack was also condemned by the Garda Representative Association (GRA) which said members in the Border region have been repeatedly attacked because of their work.

“This was a truly traumatic incident for our member and his family. He had two small children and an expectant wife and had to evacuate the house after neighbours raised the alarm,” said general secretary Pat Ennis.

He said some gardaí are spending over €2,500 on home security which was not reimbursed by their employer.

“This latest incident shows the need for regular risk assessments to be carried out for gardaí investigating violent and serious crime,” Mr Ennis said.

Fianna Fáil Justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said attacks on gardaí are attacks on the entire community.

“Acts of violence and attacks on members of An Garda Síochana homes will not be tolerated and anyone connected to such criminality must face the full force of the law,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times