A man has been arrested for questioning after a video emerged on social media of a landlord allegedly threatening a tenant with a circular saw in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.
It is suspected that the arrested man was the person using the saw in the footage that was published online in recent days. The arrested man is aged in his 70s.
In reply to queries from The Irish Times, the Garda confirmed it was investigating an alleged incident at a private residence in Co Galway on April 17th last.
As part of that inquiry, a man has been arrested on suspicion of an offence contrary to the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, the force said.
The arrested man was being detained at Galway Garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. The legislation allows for him to be questioned for up to 24 hours without charge.
In the video of the alleged attack, which was filmed on Monday, a man is seen attempting to cut through the front door of a house with an electric saw. Later in the footage, the same person appears to charge at a person on the other side of the door with the power tool.
An Garda Síochána said on Tuesday that it was “aware of a video in circulation online and can confirm that personal contact has been made with a private citizen” but could “not comment on material posted on social media”.
However, the inquiry has since progressed and led to an arrest. It is understood that gardaí have also visited the scene of the alleged incident and examined the property.
‘Come for the money’
In an extended version of the video, which was not posted online but has been seen by The Irish Times, the man holding the saw can be heard saying he “has come for the money” before subjecting the man who answered the door to a series of Islamaphobic comments.
The man with the saw also says “I don’t give a f*** about you” before stating “if I have to spend the rest of my life in jail, I don’t care”.
He then proceeds to start sawing through the door before it is closed. He continues to operate the saw through the wooden door before appearing to charge at the man taking the video once he opened the door.
The Irish Times understands that the dispute centres around rent payment dating back to last August. According to the tenant, he has been living at the property for more than three years without issue. Last year, a payment bounced back into his bank account after an attempt to pay the rent, he said.
According to the tenant, attempts to contact the landlord about the issue proved unsuccessful. The tenant said a locksmith came to his house to change the locks two weeks ago, despite his family being present inside. The locksmith departed once he realised the house was not empty.