Criminal investigation launched into online threats made against Garda member

Commissioner Harris says threats against gardaí working to uphold the peace are "completely unacceptable"

Criminal investigation launched into online threats made against Garda member

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at the passing out ceremony in Templemore, 07-09-2018. Image: RollingNews

Updated 13:15

Gardaí have launched a criminal investigation into online threats made against a Garda member working in Dublin.

It follows reports that one of the officers who policed a housing protest in Dublin last week was threatened after he was named and pictured online.

Gardaí came in for criticism after members of the Public Order Unit wore face masks during a protest against the eviction of housing activists from a building on North Frederick Street.

In a statement this morning, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said he had opened up an investigation into online threats made against one of his officers.

He said Garda management had put “appropriate supports” in place to protect the welfare and safety of the officer.

"Threats and intimidation against Garda members, who are only doing their job to keep people safe and uphold lawful order, are completely unacceptable,” he said.

“I utterly condemn it."

Images shared on social media during the eviction showed a number of men dressed all in black and wearing balaclavas entering the building to remove protesters who had been occupying the vacant property.

Masked gardaí from the Public Order Unit gathered in front of the property while the eviction was being carried out.

Five people were arrested during demonstrations against the eviction.

The clashes prompted widespread concern and criticism, including protests in Dublin city centre.

In a statement this afternoon, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said the alleged threats serve to “highlight the challenges facing Gardaí in upholding the law on our behalf and the importance of all right-thinking people supporting them in doing that.”

“Threats against them are threats against the rule of law and not acceptable,” he said.

“I expect the matter will be fully investigated by Gardaí."

The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan

On Tuesday, Commissioner Harris admitted that the use of balaclavas during the protest was “not correct.”

“The form of dress used at the event was not correct as it is policy that if it deemed necessary to use the hood then it should be used in tandem with a protective helmet,” he said.

He defended the behaviour of the gardaí on the ground, saying: "Members of An Garda Síochána showed restraint in the face of physical and verbal abuse from a very small minority and I condemn the racist abuse suffered by an individual member of An Garda Síochána working at the event."

Two people were charged and bailed to appear before the Criminal Courts of Justice on October 2nd.

Two others received adult cautions.

One was released without charge and a file is being prepared for the DPP.