Friday 15 December 2017

Firefighters, gardai attacked with stones and bottles at blaze

The burnt out remains of a Caravan at the entrance to St. Philomena's Court, Ballycoolin Road, Blanchardstown
The burnt out remains of a Caravan at the entrance to St. Philomena's Court, Ballycoolin Road, Blanchardstown

Firefighters were attacked with stones and bottles as they fought a blaze in Dublin.

Gardai who went to their assistance were also targeted in the violent incident in Blanchardstown at the weekend.

The firefighters were responding to an emergency call around 9pm on Sunday after a caravan was reported to be on fire at Saint Philomena's Court in Ballycoolin.

Fire crews in two fire engines arrived at the estate, home to a number of Traveller families, and began to fight a blaze.

A gang of youths, under cover of darkness, began to hurl bottles and stones at the fire crews.

Gardai arrived at the scene both in patrol and unmarked vehicles, but they, too, were targeted with bottles thrown by the youths.

A motorist who slowed down at the scene was also attacked when an object was thrown at his car, shattering his windscreen.

The firemen were forced to abandon efforts to extinguish the fire at the caravan, which was parked near the entrance to the estate.

The caravan was completely destroyed by the blaze.

A garda spokesman said "a number of unidentified males" were responsible for throwing the missiles.

"The firemen were unable to gain access to the caravan.There were no injuries and no arrests," he said.

"Gardai did not manage to identify those responsible. An investigation into the incident is continuing," said the spokesman.

Dublin Fire Brigade's chief fire officer Patrick Fleming told the Herald he was shocked at the violent attack on his fire crews.


It is very disappointing when actions such as these occur," said the fire chief.

"The fire service is there to help the public in their time of need," he said.

"Whether it involves either fire crews or ambulances, we would appeal to the public to respect firefighters going about their duties," he declared.

Mr Fleming said he hoped that St Patrick's Day, traditionally a very busy day and night for the service, would be "a quiet day" for Dublin Fire Brigade "with the help" of all members of the public.

The charred remnants of the burnt-out caravan was also that remained on the roadside at Saint Philomena's Court yesterday morning.

A 2010 survey found that there had been 142 incidents of physical assault and violence against firefighters and ambulance crews in the previous two years.

More members of fire and ambulance crews have suffered attacks in Dublin since that survey was completed.

The worst time of the year for attacks on firefighters and ambulance crews is Halloween night when they have been attacked as they sought to extinguish illegal bonfires which were found to be posing a threat to the safety of the local communities.


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