By Declan Mageenews@donegaldemocrat.com@dgldemocrat
The Donegal Garda division was the sixth most dangerous division for gardaí in the last six years, figures show.
New figures released by An Garda Síochána show there were 56 assaults against gardaí in the Donegal division between 2012 and 2014.
Eight of the gardaí assaulted were female members of the force.
Only the Garda districts in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Kerry and Tipperary recorded more assaults in that time.
The Donegal division recorded more assaults in the last four years than divisions covering large urban areas such as Limerick, Wexford and Louth and it recorded the same number as Galway.
A further 26 gardaí in the division suffered injuries in road traffic accidents in the same period.
The majority of the assaults on gardaí in the last four years occurred in 2012 when there were 25 gardaí assaulted.
The number of assaults have been in decline in the division since, with 15 attacks on gardaí in Donegal in 2013, followed by nine attacks in 2014, three in 2015, and four in 2016.
The trend of declining number of assaults in Donegal is against the national trend which has seen attacks on gardaí increase in the same period.
Based on last year’s figures Donegal has the fourth lowest rate of assaults on gardai, recording just four last year. Dublin was the highest last year with 63, followed by Cork (33) and the three lowest divisions last year for Garda assaults were Wicklow (2), Clare (3), and Cavan/Monaghan (3). Across the country there have been 1,267 instances of garda assault since the start of 2012.
Bites, grazes, bruises
Bites, grazes and bruising were the most common injuries, followed by sprains, strains, closed fractures and open wounds.
There were also a small number of internal head injuries, internal injuries elsewhere in the body, dislocations, infections, and open fractures.
Donegal Garda Representative Association (GRA) spokesman Brendan O'Connor said the trend nationally has seen an increase in assaults for many years.
“Many members in Donegal work in isolated locations, very far from backup and the depleted numbers of gardáí have left our members more exposed to danger without sufficient backup,” he said.
“The GRA has constantly called for tougher legislation and stiffer penalties for specific offences related to assaults on gardaí and other front line emergency workers. The penalties do not provide sufficient deterrent or protection for our members.
“Members feel more isolated and vulnerable simply because there are fewer colleagues working than before the ban on recruitment. The national trend we feel indicates that people are less hesitant to assault a garda because they know gardaí are more vulnerable.”