According to the Garda Representative Association, this is a new Garda uniform that’s going on trial in 3 stations. Deigned by a ‘sub-committee’ apparently. Personally it reminds me of what I used to wear in Quinnsworth when I was packing bags in 1996. Hideous.
Gardaí will soon be able to use mobile phones to access CCTV footage, record statements and check vehicle registrations, thanks to an app the Limerick division is piloting.
Speaking after a joint policing committee meeting at City Hall, Supt Derek Smart said that the ambitious scheme is “at a very advanced stage” and is being driven by Chief Supt David Sheahan.
Another feature being considered by the gardaí is the installation of CCTV access in garda patrol vehicles.
…Explaining the app’s concept, Supt Smart told the Leader last Friday: “If I am in the patrol car I will be able to check, if I see a car in front of me, I can put the reg number into my phone and I can check it. I don’t have to ring people inside in Henry Street to check it.
“You will be able to do it out and about on the street. There will be all apps built into specific phones in regard to it. It basically replaces the notebook. But it becomes a modern tool as well. You can go back into the station, you dock your phone, you download into the system and it is recorded there.”
From top: Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan leaving the Justice Committeee hearing yesterday; Deputy Commissioner Dónall O’Cualáin, Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, and Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality yesterday
Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan appeared before the Oireachtas justice committee yesterday to field questions on the near one million phantom breath tests and 14,700 wrongful motoring convictions.
Further to this…
A timeline of events…
2009: An Garda Síochána start recording Mandatory Alcohol Testing (MAT) checkpoints on PULSE.
May 15, 2013: A report by assistant commissioner John O’Mahoney into the quashing of penalty points by gardaí is published and finds there is no widespread quashing of penalty points.
October 1, 2013: The Comptroller and Auditor General, which was given information by Sgt Maurice McCabe, issues a report which finds one in five motorists avoided penalty points because their cases are not pursued. For 2011 and 2012 – the C&AG found approximately 2,900 cases were terminated for around 700 vehicles, with three or more cases terminated each.
March 26, 2014: Justice Minister Alan Shatter apologises to Sgt Maurice McCabe and former garda John Wilson for telling the Dáil in October 1, 2013 that the two whistleblowers didn’t cooperate with Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney’s report into the quashing of penalty points.
April 11, 2014: Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar writes to the acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan about information that was sent anonymously to Gay Byrne, chair of the Road Safety Authority. The information, allegedly from a Garda reserve, contains allegations concerning the way in which MAT checkpoints are being carried out in the west of Ireland. The information also contains allegations that road traffic legislation is not being enforced.
April 24, 2014: An Garda Síochana are made aware of discrepancies in breath test figures. On the same day, Assistant Commissioner of the Western Region Dónal Ó Cualáin submitted a report in respect of road traffic enforcement in the western region. Mr Ó Cualáin advises that the issues raised will be placed on the agenda for the Garda’s next Regional Performance and Accountability Framework meeting.
May 2014: In a letter to the Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána states that it has looked into the claims regarding MAT checkpoints and is satisfied that correct procedures were in place for MAT checkpoints that did take place. Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald tells this to the Dáil on March 28, 2017.
May 8, 2014: Garda Nick Keogh, a member of the drugs squad in Athlone, makes a formal complaint to the confidential recipient Judge Pat McMahon about a garda in the drugs squad and their alleged involvement in the supply of heroin in Westmeath, Offaly and Longford. Garda Keogh also claims a State mobile phone was supplied by a senior garda to a suspended garda whom Garda Keogh alleges has links to drugs trade in Co Westmeath.
On the same day, Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan speaks about Garda Nick Keogh in the Dail, saying:
“At this time, Garda Nicky Keogh – that is his name and he is proud of it – from Athlone Garda Station is presenting information to the confidential recipient, Mr. Justice Patrick McMahon. Given the gaping hole that there is in legislation in this country, which means the avenue of the Ombudsman commission is cut off, he has no option but to go to the confidential recipient. He has been left with no choice but to go public because since last week when the man voted by this Government to be Taoiseach laughed at what he brought to me the word at his local Garda station is that he is a whistleblower or, to use a word being used by many people, a snitch.
“His allegations are serious, including a cover up of an original file which was stolen, with the original incident being removed from the PULSE system; the creation of new statements and appearance of new original information; non-compliance by the Garda with the court order for disclosure and at least one of the accused being threatened by a garda to plead guilty on the day of the court case.”
“[Garda Nick Keogh]’s greatest concern with the drugs operation in November 2009 is that there was a systematic and orchestrated effort by high-ranking Garda officers to induce and coerce citizens, in this case citizens with no previous criminal conviction, to buy drugs from drug dealers, putting them in personal danger, and sell the drugs in turn to undercover gardaí without making any profit, thus boosting crime detection figures concerning arrests, charges and convictions. The result of this operation was that these mostly young citizens of the State, who had no previous drug convictions, now have serious drug convictions.”
“Finally, a further aspect of grave concern regarding the planning of this operation was that the list of persons nominated to be targeted had a notable omission in that a significant and well recognised drug dealer in the area who has long been associated with a senior member of the drugs unit was excluded.”
Further to the near one million false breath test figures and 14,700 wrongful convictions…
And Taoiseach Enda Kenny telling the Dáil yesterday that the Government has agreed to an external investigation into the matters – the details of which have yet to be decided.
This external investigation will be on top of an internal Garda investigation and one carried out by the Policing Authority.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, who held a press conference on the matter last week, said Superintendent Pat Murray from Athlone had been appointed to carry out the “fact finding” internal investigation.
Further to this…
On December 15, 2015, during a Dáil debate, in the presence of the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, on the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015…
Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly said:
“…the current treatment of whistleblowers is absolutely dire. Subsequently, the position of Garda Keith Harrison has been vindicated by the State pulling out of a High Court action it had taken against him at enormous personal and emotional cost, not to mind the cost to the taxpayer of a ludicrous, vindictive action. It is worth saying that the judge in that case was the senior counsel during the Morris tribunal. It is quite clear that from his stance, nothing has really changed in the sense that he awarded full costs to Garda Harrison.
“This is important because why else are we here discussing a policing authority? It is to have independent scrutiny and accountability of the gardaí.”
“It would be entirely appropriate for the Minister to comment on the Garda Inspectorate’s report which has obviously shocked people. It has also vindicated everything we have said – that nothing has changed inside the ranks of the Garda Síochána, except the faces at the top. I am surprised that people have not called for the current Garda Commissioner to resign because she is standing over a situation that is at least as bad, if not worse, than what the former Commissioner Callanan stood over. It is worse because the scale of the knowledge that is in the public domain has not been addressed.”
“The previous Garda Inspectorate’s report gave a damning account of gardaí massaging the crime figures, for example. That resulted in the analysis of crime figures having to be withdrawn for a period. It is a very serious matter.
We know for a fact that the massaging of the figures is still continuing. In recent weeks, in Superintendent Pat Murray’s station in the midlands and in Athlone, we have seen direct evidence of at least eight cases where crimes were written down so that the original crime was reclassified as a more minor matter.
There is clear evidence of massaging the figures – for example, changing burglaries to criminal damage, which is reclassification.”
In addition, during the same debate, Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace said:
“First, the Minister asked for proof of what Deputy Daly actually said. Tomorrow morning, I will give the Minister proof of district officer, Superintendent Pat Murray, reclassifying crime figures. This is an individual who has harassed and bullied a Garda whistleblower to an awful degree for a long time.”
On Friday, Gary Meneely reported in The Irish Sun that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is investigating allegations that a Munster-based garda sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl.
Mr Meneely reported that the garda, against whom the allegations have been made, “is based in a busy station and involved in some of Ireland’s most serious crime cases”.
Further to this, Mr Meneely reports today:
“…we [The Irish Sun] have learned the gardaí failed to contact the appropriate child protection agencies as rules of conduct dictate.
“It is understood that concerns — that the young girl had been abused by a senior officer — were raised to gardaí around three years ago. But it was only when a separate complaint was made to the Garda Ombudsman that GSOC referred the concerns to the relevant children protection agencies.
“…Gardaí have acknowledged that on this occasion a referral to the HSE Children and Family services was not made. This was is in contravention of the responsibility for reporting in accordance with the Children First Guidance document — the national guidelines for the protection and welfare of children in Ireland.
The District Officer failed to retain in writing a record of the decision and the justification for not initially reporting the alleged child protection issues in compliance with the HQ directive.