Friday 20 September 2019

Garda sergeant promoted after being cleared over 'shot dog' case

Images from a video filmed on a mobile phone show the armed garda sergeant during the incident in Co Longford
Images from a video filmed on a mobile phone show the armed garda sergeant during the incident in Co Longford

Ken Foy

A then garda sergeant who was involved in a confrontation in which a dog was allegedly shot dead has been cleared of any wrongdoing after a lengthy investigation by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman (GSOC).

A 29-year-old man allegedly suffered minor injuries to his lower leg in the incident when a bullet from the officer's gun ricocheted.

The sergeant, who had been notified of promotion to the rank of inspector just weeks before the bizarre incident took place, is expected to be officially promoted to his new role in the coming weeks.

"He has been cleared of any wrongdoing and can now get on with the rest of his career," a senior source told the Herald.

"It has been a very stressful time for the officer and his family but he now has no case to answer from GSOC.

"There was huge publicity and threats against him at the time but now he hopes to move on."

Longford garda weapon discharged incident. Dog shot, man injured in Shooting.
Longford garda weapon discharged incident. Dog shot, man injured in Shooting.

The midlands-based officer was officially informed in recent weeks that he has been promoted to inspector but has yet to be allocated a new district.

Read more: Body of dog shot dead by garda in tense confrontation can't be found

GSOC refused to comment on the case.

Gardai also investigated whether any criminal offence had happened during the incident but no evidence of a criminal offence was ever found in their investigation.

However, it's understood that GSOC has launched a separate probe in relation to being given a false statement by a member of the public in the case.

The shooting incident, which happened on the evening of December 3 last near Granard, Co Longford, was referred to the garda watchdog on the night of the incident.

"During the course of this incident, an official garda firearm was discharged," a spokesman confirmed at the time before pointing out that the case had been referred to GSOC.

The GSOC probe followed a referral by the district officer in line with legislation directing the ombudsman to investigate where the conduct of a garda may have resulted in the death or serious injury of a person.

Despite a number of searches carried out by gardai, the dead dog has never been found.

The home of the sergeant at the centre of the incident was given armed protection for a time after he received online threats after the shooting.

Read more: Armed officers protect garda's house over threats after man shot in leg

Sources said the officer felt "compelled" to shoot the "aggressive" dog because he feared that it was about to attack him.

The body of the dog could never be located by investigators and there has even been some claims on social media that the dog had not even been shot in the mysterious case.

It is understood that the armed garda sergeant had arrived at the scene after a member of the public had called Granard Garda Station claiming that he was unable to get his van back after it had been repaired.

It is understood that this man had driven to Co Longford from the Newmarket area of Co Cork to retrieve the vehicle.

However, when he arrived at the location, a confrontation broke out and gardai were called to the scene in the townland of Bolie, which is located between Edgeworthstown and Granard in Co Longford.

Some of the confrontation was filmed on a mobile phone and this footage was widely circulated on social media.

The video shows two men involved in a tussle beside a van before one man discharges his gun, which appears to hit the other man in the lower leg.

"Aagh me foot!" the man says in the video which was recorded on a mobile phone by a female.

Seconds earlier, the woman had shouted at the garda sergeant: "In three weeks' time, I've f**king three weeks to go to hospital... and you want to put your f**king gun away as well."

No dog can be seen or heard, though it is understood that it is the dog pulling at the garda's tie as the situation escalates.

Herald

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