Hundreds protest in Castlerea over men’s alleged assault by garda
Garda Ombudsman investigating incident in which two men and a garda were injured
People marching in support of two Castlerea men who allege they were assaulted by a garda last week. Photograph: Brian Farrell
More than 700 people marched though Castlerea in Co Roscommon on Sunday to show solidarity with two local men who they allege were assaulted by a garda last weekend.
Many of those who took part in the silent protest said afterwards that they wanted to show support for the men and their families.
Jamie Flannery, a local man who organised the event, said he wanted the men to know that they had the town’s backing.
The Garda Press Office issued a press release on Thursday which stated that the force was investigating “a public order incident” that occurred at the Roselawn area of Castlerea on the morning of December 9th.
“The incident occurred at approximately 1am and during the course of the incident, a male Garda and two males received injuries and required hospital treatment. All three were subsequently released from hospital,” it said.
A number of news outlets carried reports of an incident which said that a garda who was investigating a burglary had been assaulted by two men, one in his 60s and one in his 30s.
It was reported that the garda and “two suspects” were hospitalised after the incident and that garda management had referred it to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) in keeping with procedure.
Mr Flannery said the two men were “fairly shook and they won’t be right for a long time”. He said the older man was still in hospital.
It is understood that the two men were walking home at about 1am, sometime after a burglary at a shop on Main Street. One of the men at the centre of this incident is related to the shop owner.
It is understood that a garda car pulled in beside the men as they walked along Roselawn Drive. Gardaí were investigating the burglary and a break-in at another premises at the time of the incident.
Among those present at the protest was MEP Luke Ming Flanagan, a native of Castlerea, who said he knows both men.
“I am very very proud of the people of Castlerea today,” he said. “For the Garda Síochána to be successful they have to have the people on their side and I could not say that is the case here.”
Gsoc confirmed it was investigating the incident.