Garda slashed in the face by armed raider is hailed as hero
A garda was yesterday recovering from slash wounds to his face after courageously foiling the plans of a knife-wielding robber.
Garda Robert Duffy stopped an armed raid on a shop on Dublin's South Circular Road on Monday evening.
He has been hailed as a hero for selflessly going to the aid of shop staff despite being unarmed.
The plainclothes garda, who is in his early 30s, was on duty when he passed a Eurospar convenience store and saw a man jump over the counter and threaten terrified staff with a knife.
Gda Duffy ran into the shop where he confronted the robber. The raider, whose face was hidden by a balaclava, lashed out with the knife, leaving the garda with slash wounds to his nose and face.
The man fled the scene in a small red car, believed to be a Honda Civic, and a car fitting this description was later found abandoned a short distance away, on Connolly Avenue.
The garda was taken to St James's Hospital where he received a number of stitches for his injuries.
The garda could not be reached for comment last night.
Meanwhile, garda representatives said this latest assault shows how members of the force carry out their duty at great personal risk.
"Every day gardai go out and play Russian roulette with their safety," said a spokesman for the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents 10,500 rank-and-file gardai.
"This is an ongoing problem and this is why we have long campaigned for things like stab-proof vests, the asp (baton) and, more recently, pepper spray.
"Unfortunately, violence against gardai has become an occupational hazard."
In 2005, there were 356 attacks on gardai and this had risen to 655 two years later. However, the GRA estimates that now, on average, two gardai a day are assaulted in the course of their duties.
"Gardai have been shot, stabbed, spat at, stabbed with needles, punched, kicked. The full spectrum of human horrors has been inflicted on gardai," said the spokesman.
"There has been a steady increase in the number of attacks over the last few years. We don't have figures for 2009 yet, but in the three years previously, the number of attacks doubled."
Anyone with information on the attempted robbery is asked to contact gardai on 01 666 9700. The suspect is described as being 6ft tall, of a thin build and he was wearing a lot of layers of clothing.