Wednesday 21 February 2018

Brake pipes severed on car at garda family home

GARDA: ‘Sinister’ tampering with garda’s car could have had ‘tragic consequences’. Photo: Getty
GARDA: ‘Sinister’ tampering with garda’s car could have had ‘tragic consequences’. Photo: Getty
Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

A 'sinister' attack that could have caused death or serious injury to a Co Wexford garda and his family over Christmas has been condemned locally.

The garda, whose name is withheld, found that both his and his wife's cars had been tampered with in the early hours of Christmas morning. Expandable foam had been pumped into the exhausts of both cars.

According to local people, the garda cleared the foam from the exhausts and took his wife's car for a short drive, whereupon he found that the brakes were not working.

It is understood that the brake pipes had been severed.

Local community activist Billy Moroney, a neighbour of the family, said the garda, his wife and two children, who live at the top of a hill in the New Ross area, are highly thought of locally and that there is considerable unease in the area.

"This is a deplorable, sinister incident. The culprit, or culprits, came onto their property in the early hours of Christmas morning and carried out this attack on this family.

"There could have been tragic consequences as the family live at the top of a steep hill on a road leading onto to a main road. I understand that the brakes on the car were cut and this was only discovered by the officer when he drove his wife's car.

"This officer and his family are highly respected people and this attack comes at a time when people are bemoaning the fact that there is a dearth of rural gardai living in the community as there is spiralling crime in rural areas.

"I hope that the authorities are taking this very seriously indeed. There could have been absolutely appalling consequences if this officer had not tested his wife's car and found that this sinister damage had been done.

"I would also call on all members of the community here to support this family and all their local gardai and to pass on any information about who was responsible for this despicable incident."

It is understood that the perpetrators also poured expandable foam into the drain spouts on the family home, possibly to cause water damage.

The motive for the attack is not known but it comes amid continuing unease among gardai about the level of threats and intimidation of officers.

The Wexford incident, however, has raised concerns as the damage done to the officer's wife's car endangered his family and could have led, as Mr Moroney pointed out, to a serious or even fatal road accident.

The incident is under investigation but was not initially reported by the Garda Press Office. Asked yesterday about the incident, the Press Office said: "Gardai are investigating criminal damage to a home and car in New Ross, Co Wexford on December 25."

Garda sources said there was no clear motive for the attack on the officer's home and family but that there is a 'selection' of criminals in the Wexford area who could be capable of such an attack.

Wexford, like all other counties, has been experiencing increased levels of burglaries and robberies, with gangs targeting elderly people in isolated areas.

A bachelor in his sixties was beaten and tied up at his home in the Adamstown area on December 5 by members of a gang who forced him to hand over a small sum of cash.

Mr Moroney said that while there continues to be strong support for the gardai in Wexford, as in other rural areas, there is disquiet about the growing trend of gardai living away from areas where they serve.

He added: "This officer is a highly respected garda living in the community that he serves and this needs to be recognised.

"I hope the powers that be in the force are very aware of the responsibility they owe to the support and protection of the very valuable and respected officers in the community."

Sunday Independent

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