A man was arrested yesterday after he allegedly produced an axe and smashed up a television set in a busy town square.
The incident occurred at around lunchtime in O’Connell Square in Ennis Co Clare where the towns main street’s intersect.
Gardaí received several calls reporting that the man, believed to be in his late 40’s and from the town, was pacing up and down in front of the town’s O’Connell monument with a long handle axe.
At the time, the area was busy with shoppers as well as dozens of children on their lunchtime break from local schools.
After a sizeable curious crowd had gathered in the area, the man is reported to have smashed up a flatscreen television with the axe.
Within minutes several garda patrol cars arrived at the scene and while some officers moved bystanders away from the area, other gardaí approached the man.
It’s not clear whether the man had the axe in his hands when gardaí arrived at the scene, however, the tool was secured and seized while the man was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.
He was taken to nearby Ennis garda station where he was interviewed before being released without charge.
One onlooker said: “All I saw was a man with an axe smashing up a television. He was well dressed and looked very respectable. He had a sign or placard too but I couldn’t see what was on it. I wasn’t getting that close.”
“I didn’t know what to make of it and thought about ringing the guards but they weren’t long arriving. He was walking up and down and he must have been waiting for a crowd to gather because that’s when he starting smashing up the TV. At least two squad cars arrived with sirens on but he gave the guards no grief at all. They just took him away,” he added.
Another eyewitness said: “I saw the crowd at the monument and heard the sirens. I went up for a look and a load guards arrived. Some were talking to a man in a suit and I heard another guard telling the crowd to ‘move, move, move. He was moving people away while the other guards took the man away.”
A short video of gardaí moving in to arrest the man later appeared on Facebook.
Gardaí confirmed that a file on the incident will be prepared and forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in due course for consideration.