Serving Limerick garda sanctioned by Ombudsman for Traveller abuse on social media, kept job

The Garda Ombudsman sanctioned a serving garda who referred to Travellers as criminals and suggested a Traveller was sexually attracted to his own family – but the garda remained employed by An Garda Síochána.

Garda Colin McCarthy pleaded guilty to three discreditable conduct charges in October 2023 after an investigation by the Garda Ombudsman into his conduct on social media.  

McCarthy was fined for the posts but remains a garda in Henry Street garda station, county Limerick.

Never the victims

Garda Colin McCarthy in March 2020 used his X account to abuse a man who had been calling for emergency measures to protect Traveller families during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He accused Travellers of breaching Covid-19 regulations at a disproportionate rate to the rest of the population, and suggested that Travellers were vulnerable to Covid-19 due to being involved in criminality. 

“Travellers are at high fucking risk cos they were out in northern Italy doing the cunt and scamming people now they are at home having house parties, and doing the bolox on the streets,” he wrote.

“Ye aren’t always the fucking victims, in fact ye never are / Take the chip off your shoulder.”

In another instance he accused the same man of being sexually attracted to members of his own family after the man had called on government to implement a lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid. 

The Garda Ombudsman began investigating McCarthy the following September under section 95 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005.

He later pleaded guilty to three counts of discreditable conduct and not guilty to five counts of discreditable conduct. McCarthy was also fined and ordered to attend a course on human rights.  

He continues to work as a garda in Limerick.

An Garda Síochána and Colin McCarthy have been contacted for comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors