'Brothel row' case garda still at work
TWO men who were hospitalised after they were allegedly assaulted by three garda officers on their Christmas party have up to six months to file a complaint.
A spokesman for Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the claims were a matter for An Garda Siochana.
The three officers remain on duty in their southside Dublin garda station.
Gardai in Limerick are investigating the street fight, which broke out on the night of December 7 after two of the Dublin-based officers allegedly mistook one of the victim's homes for a brothel.
It is being treated as a criminal investigation by officers at Henry Street garda station.
The Irish Independent has learnt that the two victims in the incident have up to six months to complain to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).
GSOC has been notified of the incident but the matter is being left with Limerick-based officers. A superintendent has been appointed to oversee the case.
The bust-up occurred after the three officers and several of their colleagues from a southside Dublin garda station travelled to Limerick city for their Christmas party.
They spent the night socialising in the city centre before two of the gardai split from the group and went searching for a brothel in the Catherine Street area.
One man, who lives in the area, was on his way home when the officers are said to have mistaken his residence for a brothel.
As the man opened his front door, the two off-duty officers tried to enter the building and "demanded to be taken to prostitutes".
A stand-off occurred between the man and the plain-clothed guards until the pair eventually left.
However, after the man left his house to get something to eat with a companion, they bumped into the two officers, who were now accompanied by a third colleague.
A heated argument took place and this descended into a street fight.
The two men, who were unaware they were involved in a fracas with three serving gardai, sustained blows to the head.
The fight was broken up when on-duty officers in a passing patrol car intervened.
"The allegations are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and it would be inappropriate for the minister to comment in the circumstances," a spokesman for Mr Shatter said yesterday.
The officers involved in the incident, who are both based in Dublin, are still on duty and have not been suspended.
Gardai in Limerick are gathering evidence before deciding how to deal with it.
The area where the alleged punch-up occurred is heavily covered by CCTV and investigating gardai are examining relative footage.