Over 700 Castlerea residents marched silently through the town last Sunday afternoon in a show of support for two local men who were injured during an incident in the Roselawn area of the town in the early hours of Sunday, December 9th.
Following the incident media reports indicated that during a burglary investigation in the area an on-duty Garda was assaulted by two men, one aged in his 60s and one in his 30s.
However, the organiser of Sunday’s march, Jamie Flannery, told the Roscommon People that the two men, who had been making their way home from a night out, had received significant injuries during the incident. He added that while both men had been released from hospital, the older man, who had suffered rib and head injuries, had to be readmitted in the days that followed. He has since been released from hospital. The Garda also received hospital treatment following the incident but was released some time later.
Mr. Flannery said last Sunday’s march was about showing solidarity with the two men, who he says were wrongly portrayed by the media.
“The lads were wrongly portrayed in the media as thugs in a couple of reports last week. These men were the victims and I just wanted people to get out and show that the whole town was behind the two lads and that the families had the support of the town,” he said.
Mr. Flannery was also pleased that local politicians took part in the march last Sunday.
“Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (MEP) was here and one of the men would have worked with his father for years. Luke was well-known around the town before he got involved in politics. This is a small town and once upon a time everyone knew everyone, in recent years not so much. I’m just delighted that the crowds came out because it just shows there are still good people around in this town”.
It had been planned to march to Castlerea Garda Station on Sunday but Jamie said that due to the large number of people in attendance it was decided to finish the march at The Square instead.
“I didn’t think it would get as big a response as it did. I thought that maybe 50 or 100 people might come out. There’s a bigger area around The Square and I thought that it might be safer than the Garda Station,” he said.
The matter is currently being investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), according to a Garda statement released last Thursday (December 13th):
“Gardai in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon are investigating a public order incident that occurred at the Rose Lawn area of Castlerea on the morning of the 9th of December.
“The incident occurred at approximately 1 am and during the course of the incident, a male Garda and two males received injuries and required hospital treatment. All three were subsequently released from hospital.
“The incident has been referred under section 102 of the Garda Siochana Act to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and is currently being examined by them”.
Witnesses to the incident or anyone with information is asked to contact Castlerea Garda station on 094-621630, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.