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Gardaí under attack in south Mayo


Investigations underway after Claremorris and Ballinrobe incidents

Edwin McGreal

Less than 24 hours after two gardaí were assaulted in Claremorris, members of the force were faced down by an armed group when trying to seize a suspected stolen car in nearby Ballinrobe.
The Mayo News has learned that two gardaí who were attempting to seize the car at Lough Mask Road, Ballinrobe, were forced to stand down after a group of five to six armed males confronted them.
Outnumbered and facing a group who were armed with weapons, including iron bars, gardaí had little choice but to stand down.
One of this group who confronted them then got into the suspected stolen car and took off. The car and its driver had still not been located at the time of going to print last night (Monday).
The incident took place at 2am on Monday morning. Gardaí had been involved in a high-speed chase of the car earlier that night on the outskirts of Ballinrobe before the car, a high powered BMW, got away from them.
Their subsequent investigations led them to Lough Mask Road, off The Neale Road in the town, where they located the BMW.
It came in the same weekend as two gardaí were assaulted on the Kilcolman Road in nearby Claremorris when responding to an incident.
The Claremorris-based gardaí, one male and one female, were set upon close to the entrance of the Aldi supermarket on the Kilcolman Road at 4.30am on Sunday morning.
Both required treatment at Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar and have subsequently been released.
Three young men were arrested and detained in custody. They appeared before a special sitting of Ballina District Court yesterday (Monday) afternoon where they were remanded in custody to appear before Harristown District Court (adjoining Castlerea Prison) this Friday.
The three before the court were Krits Kiepis (18) of Grattan Close, Claremorris; Karolis Astruskzs (21) of Chapel Court, Claremorris, and Elvis Vitolins (22), also of Chapel Court, Claremorris.
They were each charged with assault causing harm under Section 3 of the Non-Fatal Offcences Against the Person Act. The charges all relate to charges of assault on the male garda.
An application to remand the trio in custody until Friday was made by Superintendent Joe Doherty. The trio’s defending solicitor Gary Mulchrone applied for bail but Judge Mary Devins granted Superintendent Doherty’s request and remanded the trio in custody.
Superintendent Doherty said Friday’s court will allow time for further consideration of the matter by the Director of Public Prosecutions and for the possibility of further, more serious charges.
Superintendent Joe Doherty said gardaí are ‘very grateful’ to the public for all their support and assistance with the incident to date and appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of Kilcolman Road around 4.30am on Sunday morning and who may have witnessed the incident to contact Claremorris Garda Station on 094 9372080 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

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