A FEMALE garda has suffered serious head injuries after her patrol car was rammed by burglars for the second time in four years.
Garda Karen Duffy underwent surgery in hospital yesterday after the door of her car was smashed into her face when she stepped out to stop a suspect car.
Last night she was recovering from a broken nose and other injuries to her face as well as lacerations to her head at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
Garda Duffy, who is in her 20s, is attached to Swords station in north Co Dublin.
Shortly before 3.30am yesterday Garda Duffy and her colleague, Garda Eoin O'Brien, responded to a report of a white Nissan Micra car being driven suspiciously in the Cian Lea estate in Swords.
When the patrol arrived there, they spotted the Micra.
Garda Duffy stepped out of the passenger seat with the intention of stopping the Micra, which had four occupants. But the driver of the Micra picked up speed and drove into the door of the patrol car, striking Garda Duffy in the head and face.
Other units were quickly alerted and moved to cordon off the area while the garda air support unit also joined the hunt.
Meanwhile, the burglars, who were suspected of being responsible for a spate of thefts from houses in the vicinity, abandoned the Micra car at nearby Talbot Hall. Two of the suspects were later spotted riding a bicycle, which was believed to have stolen after the ramming from a house in the Castleview estate.
Gardai carried out a search for the suspects and arrested two juveniles in the Applewood area. Both are from the Ballymun area and have criminal records. The two were taken to Coolock station, where they were questioned throughout the day about the ramming incident.
A senior garda said last night: "Garda Duffy sustained serious injuries to her face and head but it could have been a lot worse. The car was driven at speed and rammed into her door.
"Incredibly, it appears that the burglars carried on robbing after the incident."
Gardai have been investigating a spate of reported thefts in the area in recent weeks and believe all of them were carried out by one gang.
In May 2009, Garda Duffy was a victim in another ramming incident on the M1 motorway when an attempt was made to drive a high-powered Mercedes car in the wrong direction.
She was later awarded €10,000 damages by the High Court after the court heard she had received injuries to her head, neck and back and had been off duty for a week.
The court heard how Garda Duffy and two colleagues had put themselves at risk of serious injury by blocking the Mercedes from endangering the lives of other drivers on the motorway.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that the patrol car driver, Brian Reidy, along with Garda Duffy and student garda Shane Haughney, had chased the Mercedes along the Malahide Road towards the M50 and the M1.
The Mercedes, which had been stolen at the scene of a burglary earlier on the night of May 24, 2009, had travelled at speeds of up to 200kmh.
Eventually, the patrol car pulled in front of the Mercedes and prevented it from being driven on the wrong side of the motorway.
Awarding damages after the case was heard in March last year, the judge acknowledged Garda Duffy had suffered headaches and pain to her neck and back for some time.
By Tom Brady Security Editor