Monday, March 20, 2023

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, TD


Woman arrested after alleged Dungarvan assault claims 


GARDAÍ in Dungarvan have made an arrest in relation to an alleged assault, which is said to have happened in the town in the early hours of Sunday, February 19.

It was alleged that a number of males of foreign descent were involved in an attack, with a significant volume of social media commentary emerging in the aftermath.

Gardaí have confirmed that a woman has since been arrested under Section 12 of the Criminal Law Act, 1976 as part of their ongoing investigations.

The arrest of the woman relates specifically to someone who either “knowingly makes a false report or statement tending to show that an offence has been committed” or “knowingly makes a false report or statement tending to show that they have informational material to any enquiries by the Garda Síochána and thereby causes the time of the Gardaí to be wastefully employed.”

The woman in question has since been released and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It was claimed that a resident in a nearby property had heard screams from the victim of the alleged attack and intervened, while another incident of alleged assault circulated online roughly one week later.

Gardaí in Dungarvan have clarified that they are not investigating any other alleged assaults at this point in time, nor have they become aware of any purported spate of attacks on women by foreign nationals as had been speculated.

The alleged attacks led to the establishment of a safety patrol group in the West Waterford town, who had intended to patrol the streets voluntarily in the aim of stopping any potential attacks from occurring.


Minister’s Safety Concerns

The fallout has also led to a Minister of State expressing her concerns for the safety of her staff, following a confrontation in her constituency office, which was filmed and posted online by an anti-immigrant protestor.

Fianna Fáil TD and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler told the Sunday Times that she is “increasingly uncomfortable” with concerns regarding the safety of her staff.

Protestor Derek Blighe filmed himself entering Deputy Butler’s Dungarvan constituency office on O’Connell Street last month around the time the alleged attacks first came to light.

“My staff were recorded and there were things put up on social media which claimed that I was covering up an assault on a young girl. I am responsible for the four people who work for me as well. On this particular day, I had two of my staff working in the Dungarvan office. The two of them were female and both of them were nervous, and I feel responsible for that.”

Dungarvan Gardaí were made aware of Mr. Blighe’s arrival in the constituency office afterward.

Gardaí concluded that they do not comment on third party material posted online but they are “acutely aware” of the “significant volume of misinformation, disinformation and fake news in circulation in relation to public safety”.

Gardaí have urged anyone with information on any crime to report it to them immediately. Members of the public should contact 999 or 112 in emergency situations.

Contact Journalist: 051 874951

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