Longford garda recuperating after 'unprovoked' courthouse attack

Probationary garda 'pretty shaken' but able to return to full duties

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Jim Delaney

Supt Jim Delaney has praised the bravery and dedication of a young garda who was attacked outside the door of Longford Courthouse yesterday

A garda is recuperating today after being attacked outside the doors of Longford courthouse, the Leader can reveal.

The incident, which occurred during yesterday's weekly district court sitting, led to the temporary stoppage of proceedings before Judge Seamus Hughes.

The Leader understands the garda concerned, who is on probation and from the south Longford area, was punched across the face during the incident but was not hospitalised as a result.

A 26-year-old man, also from the south Longford area, was later brought before the court on a public order charge.

The man, who has a history of psychiatric problems, said: "He'll (garda) be alright," when details of the incident was relayed to the judge.

Asked by Judge Hughes why he attacked the garda, the man replied: "I didn't like the way he looked at me."

Judge Hughes said the episode re-opened his own fears as to the courthouse's layout, saying it gave him "the creeps" whenever any violent episodes erupted.

"It's the way the architecture is designed," he said.

"I know when I first came here you could nearly throw someone over the barrier."

The man was later assigned to undergo psychiatric treatment at St Loman's Hospital in Mullingar with a Section 6 public order charge being put back to next Tuesday (July 13).

He is not, however, expected to attend court on that date.

Yesterday's events, meanwhile, were greeted with regret by Superintendent Jim Delaney.

He said gardaí had previously held talks with Courts Service chiefs in the past over safety issues connected to the courthouse, efforts he explained had resulted in the erection of a barrier.

"We have to make courts accessible and safe for people and that has remained key from the outset," he said, as he heaped praise on the garda at the centre of yesterday's incident.

"It's part of one of one of the many challenges members of An Garda Siochana have to face and it's unfortunately not the first time someone has been assaulted in the court and it's not the first time one of our members have been assaulted in the District," he said.

"Fortunately and following the incident, the member concerned was able to return to full duty within 24 hours and that's testament to his dedication and commitment and I want to pay credit to him for that."

For more on this story, see next week's Leader.