Savage | 

Roscommon garda attacked at gunpoint in Cavan suffering from memory loss

One line of investigation is he may have been targeted by criminals “dropping off contraband” to Loughan House open prison near where he was attacked.

The assault on the garda officer happened near Loughan House open prison in Co Cavan

Ali Bracken

Mystery continues to surround the circumstances of a savage assault on a 29-year-old garda at gun point in Co Cavan, during which the officer was also doused in petrol.

One line of investigation is he may have been targeted by criminals “dropping off contraband” to Loughan House open prison near where he was attacked.

The highly-respected officer is still recovering after his ordeal and senior sources say he continues to have “memory loss issues” about the incident in the early hours of last Monday morning.

No arrests have been made and no suspects identified.

“The area where he was found is well known to Gardaí for the exchange of contraband into the open prison,” a source said.

“Potentially he might have disturbed some kind of a drop-off and been attacked. But this is just one of many theories in this strange and frankly disturbing case.”

The Sunday World has learnt the garda — who normally works with a colleague when on night shifts — had his car keys and service radio thrown into a nearby field after he was attacked.

Sources also revealed the officer, who is a talented senior inter-county GAA footballer and described as “very fit”, was lying at the scene for around half an hour before back-up arrived at the rural locality and tended to him after 2am.

The attack has caused outrage among his colleagues who have spoken out about the lack of dash-cams being issued to officers.

In a statement, Garda Representative Association (GRA) vice president Brendan O’Connor said: “When it comes to equipment and technology such as on board cameras in vehicles, gardaí are at times decades behind other police services when it comes to the availability of such systems.

"Some roads policing patrol vehicles are equipped with ANPR (automated number plate recognition) systems but unfortunately they represent a very small proportion of the overall fleet.

“The system is very effective in terms of identifying suspects and recording evidence but the system is not fitted to vehicles used by regular units who respond to calls and carry out routine patrols, which is incredible in the modern day of policing.

“More modern systems that are in use in other jurisdictions are capable of providing a live feed to control rooms which has obvious benefits for the safety of members as well as informing decision making around traffic pursuits and public risk."

He added: “When the Garda Mobility programme was launched four years ago we were given the impression that integrated technology capable of transmitting data and imagery in real time was on the way but our frontline members are yet to see this.”

The brutal attack on the officer was the third time he had been assaulted while working.

Sources have revealed he was injured during the arrest of a suspected drug driver last year when he was allegedly assaulted by the man.

As in the latest incident the garda was on his own when he was allegedly attacked as he made the arrest in the Cavan/Monaghan Garda division.

He was also the victim of a serious unprovoked assault in July 2016 and required hospital treatment after being attacked after leaving court.

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