Gardai attacked as gang with digger loot supermarket
Armed gardaí were called in after uniformed officers came under attack from a large gang of looting youths in west Dublin last night.
Treacherous driving conditions hampered the garda response as some approach roads were virtually impassable.
Gardaí were responding to reports of looting at the supermarket and also reports of a digger being used to "smash into the supermarket".
Reinforcements from across the Irish capital were called in as gardai tried to maintain order outside a Lidl supermarket at Fortunestown Lane in Tallaght.
The incident began shortly before 5pm when gardai at Tallaght station received reports of looting at the supermarket.
A uniformed patrol in a Jeep was sent to the scene but had difficulty accessing the location because of heavy snow drifts.
The gardai attempted to approach the supermarket on foot but immediately came under attack from the growing gang of looters.
Stones and other objects as well as snowballs were hurled at the gardai, who summoned help.
Additional garda vehicles were sent to Fortunestown Lane including three patrols from the armed support unit and four traffic Jeeps.
Gardai said they were also investigating reports that a JCB had been used by the looters to smash their way into the supermarket. They are also investigating reports that a safe was dragged out of the store and the bucket of the digger was used in an attempt to smash it open.
A digger was recovered in the operation and three people were arrested at the scene.
They are also investigating other incidents in the area.
One of the patrols on their way to the scene intercepted three youths, suspected of being involved in a separate looting incident at a Centra store in Jobstown, near the Blessington Road.
Dublin Fire Brigade confirmed that they attended the scene after reports of a fire, but say there was no fire at the scene.
Tallaght councillor Brendan Ferron told Independent.ie that he's shocked that so many people took part in the alleged robbery.
"It's extremely disappointing to see stuff like this going on," he said.
"The village is completely snowed in so I'm sure it was an absolute nightmare for the guards to get up there and deal with this situation."
Lidl released a statement; "We are aware of the very serious incident at our Fortunestown Lane store this evening. Given that the incident is now the subject of a criminal investigation we are not in a position to comment further at this time."