Brothers unite in call for new laws to protect frontline officers
Published 05/07/2011 | 05:00
Two brothers -- a garda representative leader and a Labour Dail deputy -- yesterday called on Justice Minister Alan Shatter to urgently introduce new laws to protect gardai from assault.
The calls were made in the wake of the alleged attack on Garda Michael O'Shea, who was doused with boiling oil on Sunday morning.
Last night, the president of the Garda Representative Association, Damien McCarthy, called on the minister to change the law.
He said there appeared to be a political reluctance to properly protect frontline gardai from assaults, which had increased to more than 800 in a year.
"We believe a mandatory sentence would deter a large proportion of potential assailants," Mr McCarthy added.
His brother, Michael, a Labour TD for Cork South West, said the weekend incident highlighted the need to provide special protection for gardai.
The deputy, who has tabled questions in the Dail to Mr Shatter on garda assaults, added: "If a stolen car is being driven in an area, an ordinary member of the public is not obliged to stand out in front of the vehicle in a bid to stop it.
"Gardai are obliged to do that. It's their job and their duty. Therefore, there needs to be specific legislation put in place to protect gardai and emergency workers from assault."
In recent months, he said, the minister had confirmed he was reviewing the position following the case of the late Garda Robbie McCallion, who was killed after he was struck by a car while on duty. He called on Mr Shatter to make up his mind to act urgently and bring in a new offence.