'We are expected to accept assault' - calls for mandatory sentencing as 631 gardai injured in one year
More than 630 gardai were injured on duty in 2015 and five have been killed in ten years, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed.
Official figures show that 5,417 members have been injured on duty since 2006 but this number is probably much higher as they are not recorded officially unless there's a criminal prosecution or the garda has to take take at least three days' sick leave.
The Garda Representative Association is calling for the introduction of a mandatory minimum sentence of at least one year in prison for anyone convicted of assaulting a any frontline emergency worker.
They are also seeking greater use of tasers.
Speaking ahead of the GRA's annual conference got underway in Salthill, Galway, their president Ciaran O'Neill highlighted an attack on two gardai in Dublin on Sunday morning, which was first reported by Independent.ie.
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He said: "The male member got bitten, got spat at, got kicked at, got his eyes gouged. He still remained on in work, so he's not in the statistics.
"But he was assaulted and that shouldn't be happening to anybody when they're going to work."
He added that routinely many members don't report injuries they sustain on duty.
Mr O'Neill said: "Such is the culture that members are routinely expected to accept injury and assault as part of the job. This is unacceptable.
"Our workplace is every single part of the State - where every conceivable danger is possible from high speed pursuit to armed robbery, from hypodermic needles to dangerous animals. We provide a catch-all service that is the last line of defence between our people and mortal danger."
Meanwhile, interim deputy general secretary Robbie Peelo said gardaí in the Louth division, and particularly the Dundalk district, would never recover from the murders of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe and Garda Tony Golden. He said gardaí had lost two colleagues while families had lost loved ones.