WATCH: Gardaí defend use of pepper-spray after clash with Derry City fans in Dundalk
Gardaí have defended their use of pepper spray following an incident involving Derry City supporters at Oriel Park last Friday night.
Officers claim they were forced to deploy the canister in a bid to subdue 'an aggressive male' during a disturbance at the end of Derry City's 1-1 draw against Dundalk which was marred by unsavoury scenes in the away end of the Co. Louth venue as some fans clashed with Gardai.
The incident led to a series of accusations of heavy-handedness from the Gardai on social media afterwards with one claim a child had been hit by pepper spray as the guards drew batons on supporters.
A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána confirmed the use of pepper spray on someone who they claimed was 'an aggressive male' but denied it had made contact with any child.
The sprays can be used when suspects become violent, engage in serious disturbances or when Gardai are under attack or dealing with people resisting arrest.
"Gardaí were present at Oriel Park, Dundalk on the 5th August, 2022," read a statement. "During the course of the evening when the match was finished Gardaí did indeed deploy pepper spray on an aggressive male, who was given several warnings to desist from his behaviour. This male ran into the crowd and could not be located by Gardaí.
"No pepper spray made contact with any child and the parents and child were safely escorted from the grounds," it continued.
No arrests were made at the ground.
The incident is currently being investigated by the FAI's Disciplinary Control Unit.
Video footage courtesy of Peaky Bannsiders. Twitter: @peakbannsiders