Seven Garda members were on Thursday recovering from violent attacks during the St Patrick’s Day policing operation in Dublin and Laois.
In Portlaoise, Co Laois, gardaí and ambulance workers came under attack and five gardaí were injured and required hospital treatment.
Separately, a number of knifepoint robberies occurred in Dublin city centre before gardaí caught a suspect and found a knife and stolen phones on his person. When gardaí searched his home in Dublin they found a cannabis crop growing there and the suspect was now facing varied and serious criminal charges.
In Dublin, a female Garda member was violently beaten, including sustaining an elbow to the face and a number of kicks to the head, and her male colleague also sustained head injuries in the same incident.
One source said a man the two gardaí were speaking to on the street in the south inner city “exploded with violence”.
The suspect was approached by the male and female gardaí on foot after he was seen urinating in public at Cusack Corner, on the junction of Mercer Street and York Street, in Dublin 2.
He lashed out at both gardaí and for a period inflicted a serious assault on them before being overpowered on the street, arrested and taken into custody.
The suspect, in his mid-30s and from the Palmerstown area of west Dublin, was with another man at the time, though the second man does not appear to have become involved in the incident.
The Irish Times understands the female garda who was attacked suffered suspected concussion and other head injuries, which required hospitalisation. She was taken to A&E for treatment and remained in hospital overnight though it was hoped she would be discharged on Thursday.
The injured woman is a community garda in the south inner city and is well known in the area. Colleagues said they were shocked at the incident. Her male colleague sustained facial injuries in the attack.
After the suspect for that attack was arrested he was taken to Kevin Street Garda station for questioning and held overnight. Given the level of violence involved in the incident and the seriousness of the injuries sustained by the gardaí, a serious crime unit has been tasked with investigating the case.
In the Laois-Offaly area, five Garda members needed hospital treatment for injuries sustained in violent attacks after suspects attacked them and paramedics during a number of assaults.
In two of those incidents gardaí were punched, kicked and spat at and four of the five gardaí assaulted needed medical treatment in A&E, with one of the injured being kept in hospital overnight for treatment and observation.
Gardaí said two men had been arrested for the attacks, which occurred late on Wednesday and in the early hours of Thursday.
Suspects became violent towards gardaí responding to a public order disturbance in the Fairgreen area of Portlaoise at about 8.30pm and four gardaí, three female and one male, were assaulted. One man was arrested and charged.
In the early hours of Thursday gardaí were called to a public order incident at Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, where two female gardaí were assaulted, one of whom had dealt with the earlier incident in Fairgreen in the town. A man in his 40s was arrested and charged.
Garda sources said the main activity in Dublin city centre on St Patrick’s Day related to the monitoring and control of anti-lockdown protests, adding they passed off peacefully after numbers in attendance were low.
There were just over 20 arrests related to the anti-lockdown protests – held in Herbert Park and RTÉ’s campus in Donnybrook and on O’Connell Street.
Most of those arrests related to people refusing to leave an area when told to do so by gardaí or declining to provide their name and address to gardaí during checks to establish if they had made non-essential journeys under the Covid-19 pandemic regulations.
Those arrested in relation to the protests either appeared before a special sitting of the courts on Wednesday night or were charged in the Garda stations they were taken to before being released on bail pending a court appearances in the future.
Separately, a series of knifepoint robberies were also reported to gardaí in the inner city late on St Patrick’s night and a suspect in that case was also arrested.
Just after 11.30pm gardaí received a call from a person who had fought off a man who had tried to rob their phone and money at knifepoint at Samuel Beckett Bridge. Gardaí responded to that call and arrested a suspect on Hanover Street, where a search of the suspect yielded several mobile phones and a knife.
Minutes earlier there had been knifepoint robberies on three other people, all in the city centre, including at North Wall Quay, Lime Street and Windmill Lane. Garda believe the phones found on the suspect’s person were stolen during those robberies, all of which happened in quick succession, and that the man arrested was involved in all four incidents.
While the suspect was being held at Pearse Street Garda station, investigating gardaí secured a warrant and searched the man’s home, where they found cannabis plants growing. The suspect, an Englishman in his mid-30s living in Dublin, also had a number of outstanding warrants for historical crimes and he was still being held on Thursday afternoon.