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2 cops killed as stolen car rams cruiser

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — President Mary McAleese has led tributes to two gardai who were killed when a stolen sports car traveling at up to 100 miles per hour smashed into their patrol car early Sunday as they were attempting to clear traffic from its path.

On the eve of an election, the tragedy has highlighted the continuing joyriding problem, out-of-control teenagers and a lack of prison places for young offenders.

Garda Anthony Tighe, 43, of Ranelagh, Dublin, a father of four, was the driver of the patrol car and had been a member of the force for 30 years. One of the many gardai who arrived on the scene of the 6:30 a.m. crash was his son Colm, who is attached to Kilmainham station.

The other Garda, Michael Padden, 27, originally from Belmullet, Co. Mayo, had been in the force for four years.

Both Gardai were attached to Donnybrook station. It had been alerted that the car had been stolen during a spate of burglaries in Dalkey.

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The officers were clearing traffic from Stillorgan when the high-performance sports car plowed into the side of their car.

Two teenagers in the car, who are too young to stand trial in an adult court, received minor injuries despite the impact of the crash and the damage done to both vehicles. They are believed to be 16 and 17.

It is believed that a group of as many as 10 youths may have been involved in the original spate of break-ins and thefts in Dalkey.

McAleese and Justice Minister John O’Donoghue expressed sympathy to the gardai and the families of the dead men and many members of the public placed flowers at the scene and signed a book of condolence in Donnybrook station.

In recent months gardai have warned people not to leave the keys of their cars in obvious places in their homes and particularly not on hall tables or windowsills.

There has been a growing problem of youths stealing the keys of high-performance car in the suburbs, often ignoring other valuables in homes.

A shortage of juvenile detention places has meant that many teenagers have to be set free after appearing before the Children’s Court because there is nowhere for them to go.

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