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Irish Man Was Likely Detained for Reasons Other Than Filming Police

Maxim Sorokopud Maxim Sorokopud
10th May 2021
Irish Man Was Likely Detained for Reasons Other Than Filming Police
The man was also involved in a custody battle for his children (Getty Images).

The Claim

The Irish police raided a man’s home in the middle of the night, detained him, and took away his children all because he filmed them shutting down a church service. 

Emerging story

On April 25th, a video appeared online of the Garda, the Irish police, attempting to expel Irish churchgoers from a Catholic mass. The man filming the video, supposedly Pat Sweeney, speaks to the police, protesting their actions. At the very end of this video, a child appears on a pew next to the man recording, apparently his child. 

One week later, on May 2nd, 2021, a second video appeared online. In this video, a man, who has been reported to be Sweeney (and who sounds almost identical to the man talking in the first video) speaks to different members of the Irish police. The video appears to come from within Sweeney’s home and takes place at night. In the recording, one of the police officers states that they are getting Sweeney medical assistance. Sweeney asks why. The police officer tells Sweeney that he is being detained under an Irish mental health law. Sweeney then asks for the whereabouts of his children. The officer responds that the police have invoked a childcare act and have taken them into care. 

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This footage then appeared on Twitter, where it gained over 160,000 views. Reports of the incident spread to other social media sites and conspiracy theory websites, with claims that Sweeney was arbitrarily detained and that his children were forcibly removed because of the footage he posted of the Catholic mass. 

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A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation has discovered that many of these claims are unverified, but they cast legitimate doubt into the narrative that many have detailed on social media and conspiracy theory websites. 

Initially, a GoFundMe page for Sweeney appeared online. The GoFundMe managed to raise over $12,000 for him. However, after Misbar contacted the founder of the page, who is a member of the far-right National Party, the GoFundMe page disappeared, and we received no response. 

Other news sources have claimed that Sweeney was released from police custody after a medical professional declared that he was of a sound mind. His children were returned to his mother, who lives in France.

News sources such as LifeSite News, which is sometimes unreliable, have stated that there is more to this story than was initially reported. These sources claim that Sweeney was in a custody battle with his ex-wife. The claim states that Sweeney kept his children in Ireland after they had visited from France in October 2020. Sweeney’s reason for doing so was allegedly so that children did not have to participate in the French school mask mandate. 

In summary, there is no reliable source to support the claim that filming the Catholic mass was what motivated the Irish police to detain Sweeney and remove his children from his care. Our efforts to contact the politicians who were promoting this narrative resulted in the deletion of the GoFundMe account. Additionally, the custody battle claims, while unverified, also suggest that the police were acting for reasons other than Sweeney filming the Catholic mass. Therefore, this story is rated as suspicious.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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