The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has said an incident in Dublin last night in which a garda car was rammed is “very disturbing” and should be “condemned by all politicians and community leaders”.
There has been condemnation of the incident in Cherry Orchard, during which a group of people are shown to be cheering in video footage circulated on social media when the car collides with the garda vehicle.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham said social media is a “huge factor” in these types of incidents.
“The worry here for the people we represent is that this encourages copycat type incidents and that these young people and onlookers feel empowered by these videos, and it encourages more of the same type of behaviour,” she said.
“So it’s not only about condemning what happened out there last night but it’s also about finding a solution to these issues to try very hard to ensure that there’s no recurrence of them.
“They are completely unacceptable. They’re unacceptable for society and they’re unacceptable for the gardaí in the area.”
Gardaí last night said they were responding to reports of dangerous driving at the time of the crash, and that two vehicles were observed “driving erratically”, failing to stop when requested.
There were no injuries in the incident.
Ms Cunningham said there are “ordinary, decent people” simply trying to live their lives in the community who find this type of behavior unacceptable.
She called on community leaders, gardaí and politicians to come together to try to find a solution.
“It’s easy to condemn it but the difficult work is trying to find ways to ensure that this type of behavior doesn’t continue,” she said.
“All those with a responsibility have to come together to try and find long-term solutions.”
Ms Cunningham said members working in the area should be safe in their working environment and be able to go about their duty responding to calls in a safe manner.
She said there is an inherent danger when there is “open encouragement” of people to ram patrol cars.
“Then you wonder where the respect for the rule of law lies,” she said.
She added: “Where the gardaí have their rightful position in society to take on behavior like this and be able to answer it and address it sufficiently, and to be adequately resourced to do so when something like this happens.
“They’re the things that we’ll have to look at, because they all center around the safety of our members and the people who were on duty last night.
“To make sure that when a call like this comes in that they can respond adequately, properly, swiftly and quickly to take control of a situation.”
Gardaí are appealing to members of the public who may have witnessed the incident to come forward.
They are also appealing to anyone who was traveling in the Cherry Orchard area at the time, who may have camera footage.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Ballyfermot Garda Station on 01-6667200, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.