defamation | 

Gardaí call for crackdown on ‘cowardly, poisonous’ online abuse

Some senior Gardaí reveal they had to spend years clearing their names following false accusations

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is due to address the conference of senior Gardaí today. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Gardaí have called for help in dealing with the “cowardly, vicious, vindictive and poisonous” abuse they receive online.

Almost half of Gardaí have had their reputations damaged by false allegations, a new survey of senior cops has revealed.

Some said it took years for them to clear their names after getting stuck in the centre of bullying, harassment, discipline and criminal investigations.

Almost a third say they have been defamed on social media.

Officers also report being filmed without their consent and being the subject of abuse when images of them appear online.

The Association of Garda Superintendents (AGS) released the figures at their annual conference and has asked the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner to intervene.

President of the AGS Stephen Nolan said the “cowardly, vicious, vindictive and poisonous” abuse of Gardaí “continues unabated.”

Appearing on RTE’s Morning Ireland, AGS spokesperson Supt Declan McCarthy said the “anonymous complaints and false allegations” must be dealt with properly.

"It would be a mater of welfare and a safety issue of us and our organisation’s mission statement is about keeping people safe and we would like the same courtesy paid to us, that we as senior operators in the organisation are kept safe.”

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris are due to address the annual AGS conference in Kildare later today.

The AGS surveyed over 220 superintendents and chief superintendents nationwide.

1,000 additional Gardaí are set to enter the force following Budget announcements yesterday.

The recruitment is welcomed by the AGS but the group says more must come down the line and not just fill “staffing deficits.”

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