Otis Blue writes:
Niche accommodation in Kinsale [County Cork]….
From top: The Herald cover of September 18, 2015; Store Street Garda Station
The Irish Examiner reports female civilian garda Lynn Margiotta, who works at Store Street Garda Station in Dublin city, and her brother Dr Tony Margiotta, ended up before a judge in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last month over sick notes.
The case against Ms Margiotta collapsed after Judge Patricia Ryan ruled her rights had been abused as she had been denied access to a solicitor while in custody, and her privacy breached as her medical records had been accessed without her consent.
The case against her brother Dr Margiotta was also dropped.
Mick Clifford reports:
“The prosecution’s case was that Dr Margiotta had provided his sister with medical certs to say she was not fit for work. The gardaí did not dispute that she was unwell at the time, but claimed the medical certs were obtained by deception.
“The certs were signed by Dr Margiotta, but bore the stamp of other doctors who worked or had worked in the practice where he was working. The trial heard that an expert had given an opinion that locum doctors using the stamp of another doctor in a practice is not unusual.”
Now, Ms Margiotta wants a full inquiry into the matter.
The Examiner reports that three gardai from Store Street Garda Station arrested Ms Margiotta at her home in Navan, Co Meath on August 11, 2014 – three weeks after she made a complaint of bullying against a Garda member – and told her she was under arrest for fraud.
They told her this was in connection with how she got sick notes for days missed at work, despite nobody from Human Resources speaking with her about the matter first.
She had missed work “over a dozen occasions” between January and July 2014, during which she suffered a form of depression following the death of her mother, to whom she was very close.
Ms Margiotta was arrested a second time, on September 18, 2015.
This was reported on the front page of The Herald with the headline “Dublin based garda employee arrested for using ‘fake sick certs’.”
The newspaper reported:
“She was putting in sick certs for days that is it suspected she was not sick at all…If a prosecution does happen, it is understood that it will be the first time in the history of the State that an employee will be hauled before the courts for allegedly providing fake sick notes to their employer.”
Ms Margiotta was later released that day.
But on Saturday, June 10, 2017 she was at her father’s house in Finglas when gardai called again and told her she was to be taken to court to be charged.
Another 21 months passed before the case came before Judge Patricia Ryan and collapsed.
Ms Margiotta hasn’t been contacted by her employer since her arrest in August 2014; she has been mainly without an income since; and she has yet to be informed about what happened to her bullying complaint.
Pic: Irish Examiner
From top: This morning’s Irish Daily Mail; Irish Times
Further to the shooting incident involving a Garda detective in Longford on Monday evening…
Michael Doyle, in The Irish Sun, reports:
“During the incident, what appeared to be a warning shot was fired and Blondie [Christopher ‘Blondie’ Stokes] was hit by a bullet in the foot from a Garda-issue Sig Sauer handgun.
Sources said an Alsatian dog attacked the cop and had to be shot in self-defence…“
The injured man’s uncle Ned ‘Sonny’ Stokes, who arrived on the scene minutes later, said no pooch was killed.
He told the Irish Sun: “When I got there, I met the garda and asked him what happened.
“I went over and I saw Chris after being hit in the leg.
“They have two dogs and I could see them tied up at the back, not a bother on them.”
Yesterday: Meanwhile in Longford
Omni Cinema, Old Airport Road, Santry, Dublin 9.
Thanks Stephen Hanlon
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.
In the Limerick Leader…
Fintan Walsh reports:
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.”
Dara Quigley (above) Today’s Irish Sun
Campaigning journalist Dara Quigley has been identified as the woman filmed being arrested and dragged into a Garda car after walking naked in Dublin city centre.
Dara, who was battling mental health issues, took her own life within days of the video being shared on Facebook allegedly by a member of An Garda Síochána.
Stephen Breen, in The Irish Sun, reports:
A major probe is under way after a woman who was allegedly filmed by a garda as she walked naked in a busy street took her own life just days later.
The officer has been accused of using his mobile phone to record CCTV footage of her arrest in Dublin last month and then sharing it in a WhatsApp group.
The north Dublin woman had been suffering from depression and was receiving treatment for drug addiction when she was detained in the city on April 7 under the Mental Treatment Act.
It’s understood the video clip was posted to Facebook three days later by another individual — and viewed 123,000 times within a 24-hour period.
Facebook removed the clip on April 11 after being contacted by senior gardai but the woman’s body was found in the Munster area the following day.
The officer at the centre of the allegation is suspended on full pay. It’s understood he denies the allegation and any wrongdoing whatsoever.
Previously: A Rare Diamond
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.”