'Cash offered for details of garda at water protest'
An offer of money was put forward on social media to find the name and address of a garda who was involved in policing a water protest it has been claimed.
The shocking detail was revealed at the opening of the Garda Representative Association's annual conference in Tullow, Co Carlow yesterday by the GRA'S president Dermot O'Brien.
Mr O'Brien told the conference that the "sinister" case is being investigated.
"What we find now is that the personal lives of members of An Garda Siochana are being invaded and being placed on social media," he said.
"In fact, people attached to these social media forums are seeking the names and addresses of members of An Garda Siochana.
"There was an offer of money put forward to identify a particular member and where that member was resided.
"There is a sinister element behind that - a very dangerous element," Mr O'Brien added.
The Herald can reveal that the garda who has been "trolled" is a highly respected detective attached to a north Dublin station, who was targeted after he was involved in policing a controversial water protest in January.
The GRA's vice-president, Ciaran O'Neill, told the annual meeting in which the views of thousands of rank-and-file gardai are represented, that there is a concern for the welfare of their members.
"Some of the water protesters are not peaceful in their actions and there is a need for gardai to intervene.
"There are elements there for their own nefarious reasons. Attacking workers is not a peaceful protest," Mr O'Neill said.
It also emerged yesterday that two gardai are being assaulted every day, including a massive increase in attacks on off-duty gardai.
"Members off duty, socialising in their own area where they may encounter a criminal element who they may have brought to court [have been subject to] retribution," GRA chief Dermot O'Brien said.
Another issue that was raised at last night's press conference was that some gardai are impoverished due to the pay cuts they have endured since the recession kicked in.
Vice-president Ciaran O'Neill said that the 100 new recruits this year are "working for less than the industrial wage".
"They are being recruited into poverty," he said, adding that "morale is at rock bottom" and "members are barely able to feed their own families".
Mr O'Brien stated that there have been instances where officers are sleeping in their own cars for three or four hours, following their shift, as they may have a court appearance the next day and are not able to pay for fuel to commute from satellite towns outside the capital to their stations in Dublin.