A woman remains in garda custody on Saturday, in connection with an alleged “hit and run” last Thursday night that left a senior Garda in hospital with serious injuries.
Niall Flood, a Garda Inspector at Henry Street Garda Station, Limerick, who was off-duty and cycling on the R522, near Newcastle West, was thrown from his bike in the collision with a car, and one of his feet was severed in the impact.
Gardaí were examining a theory that the driver of the car panicked after the collision, left the scene, and drove to a house where a loved one discovered one of Mr Flood’s feet wedged into the car, and alerted gardaí.
Mr Flood remains in a serious but stable condition in Cork University Hospital where he is being treated for multiple bone fractures, lacerations, and bruising, and the wound where his foot was amputated.
A woman in her 20s was arrested last Thursday night in connection with the collision.
A Garda spokesman stated on Saturday: “The woman is still in Garda custody at this time.”
Gardaí, and other first responders, particularly a crew attached to the Irish Community Air Ambulance charity, based in Rathcoole Aerodrome, Co Cork, were praised by Mr Flood’s friends and colleagues for their rapid response to the scene of the collision.
The air ambulance crew arrived at the scene 12 minutes after being tasked and airlifted Mr Flood to Cork University Hospital in less than 15 minutes.
Local Fine Gael Councillor Liam Galvin paid tribute to Mr Flood who he described as an “excellent Garda”.
“I’ve known Niall a long time, he is an excellent garda, it’s just heartbreaking, because Niall is an absolute gentleman, and has always had the community at heart, and I can’t get it out of my head all day, my heart is breaking for the man.”
“He is one of the good guys, and our thoughts are with him and his wife, he had big ideas and plans for policing in Newcastle West and it is just a crying shame what has happened and I just hope he will get well.”
“I hope there is a way that he can come back into the Garda uniform in some capacity, because he is going to be a dreadful loss to the force, if he has to retire, it’s just heartbreaking.”
“Niall’s love, first of all is his wife, of course, but his next passions were work and his bike, he just loved cycling, and it is just a bloody pity what happened.”
Mr Flood’s foot was severed just below the shinbone above the ankle, and he sustained other multiple injuries.
Sources said the quick response and actions of the emergency services was instrumental in his life being saved. A friend said Mr Flood was an “avid cyclist” and that his “high level of fitness” likely also played a part in keeping him alive.
It’s understood emergency responders placed a tourniquet on his injured leg to stem the blood flow and kept him conscious at the side of the road.
“He was inside in water at the stage when someone came to him and they helped him in anyway they could, he spoke to the guys who came on scene, and the first thing he said to them was ‘is my leg gone’,” said a source.
“He was talking, he was in severe pain, he’s a lucky man to be alive,” they added.
A Garda spokesman made an appeal “to any person who may have witnessed this collision to contact them, including any road users who were travelling on the R522 between Dromcollogher and Feohanagh at the time of the incident with camera footage (including dash cam)”.
“A car understood to be involved in the incident was seized for forensic examination, and the scene has been examined by Garda Forensic Collision investigators.”
Anyone with dash cam footage or any other witness information is asked to contact Henry Street Garda Station (061212400) the Garda Confidential Line on (1800666666) or any Garda Station.