Syringe maniac zapped with Taser after threats
A MAN was Tasered by gardai after threatening to inject himself in the neck with a syringe.
Specialist officers engaged in an almost four-hour stand-off with the man at a house in Clondalkin over the weekend.
It is understood that he was armed with a syringe and warned gardai that he would inject himself or an officer with air if they approached.
Injecting air directly into a vein can cause an embolism and have potentially fatal consequences.
Gardai called in a trained negotiator to help diffuse the situation but were eventually forced to deploy a Taser weapon.
The events were sparked by a domestic dispute at a private address in Cherrywood, Clondalkin in Dublin at around 5.45am yesterday.
While the nature of the original dispute is unclear, it is understood that a female occupant of the house fled the scene before gardai arrived.
Once there, a stand-off ensued between the man who held a syringe to his neck threatening to harm himself and gardai.
At around 9.30am, members of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), concerned for his safety, used a Taser gun to subdue him.
The man, who is aged in his 40s, was brought to Tallaght Hospital although his condition was not thought to be serious.
A source indicated that he was upset following the domestic disturbance and gardai were not prepared to ignore the serious threats he was making to his own life.
A spokesman for the gardai confirmed that an incident took place at the address and that a Taser weapon was deemed necessary. The use of conductive electrical devices, or Tasers, by the garda ERU was sanctioned by former Justice Minister Michael McDowell in 2007.
While no statistics are readily available on their use, it is understood they are rarely utilised and only in extreme circumstances.
Tasers compliment a number of other 'less lethal weapons' including bean bags shots, OC or pepper spray and OC shots.
However, despite their adoption by gardai, the use of Tasers by police forces around the world has remained controversial given their alleged link to a number of deaths.
Amnesty International has associated their use with some 70 deaths in the US alone.
The weapons look like firearms but instead of bullets, they use compressed air to fire twin electrical cables that trail back to the handset and omit a five second shock of 50,000 volts.
They incapacitate their target by causing uncontrollable contraction of muscles.
In 2007, the Department of Justice said that their use was limited to circumstances in which it was necessary to avoid the use of live firearms.