Tag Archives: Garda

sullivanScreen Shot 2017-03-31 at 14.03.44From 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.”

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A Garda checkpoint

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.”

Good times.

Dail transcript via Kildarestreet.com

Rollingnews.ie

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This morning’s Irish Sun

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.

Garda quizzed over sex attack on 11-year-old girl (The Irish Sun, December 9)

Gardai failed to report claims that a senior officer sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl (The Irish Sun, December 11)

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Garda Keith Harrison

Yesterday.

On RTÉ Radio One’s This Week.

John Burke reported that Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison, who lives in Donegal, believes he was placed under surveillance when he went to Galway for a meeting with members of GSOC earlier this year.

Garda Harrison met members of GSOC, which has its headquarters in Dublin, in March to discuss his complaints which were being handled by GSOC.

Mr Burke reported:

“[Following the meeting] on his way back to Donegal, he believed then that, as I understand it, he identified an unmarked Garda car which was following them from Galway back to Donegal which would indicate that they had actually followed them down there also. The complaint was then made to GSOC that, by Garda Harrison’s lawyers, that they believe their client had been followed, that this was a matter of deep concern, if it was the case that a guard who had made a protected disclosure to GSOC was being kept under surveillance  whilst attending what should have been, from GSOC’s point of view and the garda’s point of view, a highly confidential meeting with GSOC.”

“An indication of how serious GSOC treat the confidentiality of those meetings is actually outlined in documents which we’ve also seen which show that that meeting was booked via a private travel company using none of the names of the four participants at the meeting to GSOC officials, Garda Harrison and his solicitor. Nobody else, other than those four people, it seems should have known that that meeting was taking place.”

GSOC couldn’t comment on the allegation, RTÉ reported.

You may recall how just under two weeks ago Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly told the Dáil:

Nineteen times myself and Deputy Wallace have raised what has been happening to whistleblowers Nick Keogh and Keith Harrison, who’s out two years surviving on a pittance with a young family. His post has been opened. Garda patrol cars cruising down a lane where he lived 25 kilometres from the nearest Garda station. The HSE called to his kids – all on Commissioner [Nóirín] O’Sullivan’s watch.”

You may also recall how, during her appearance before the Oireachtas joint committee on justice, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan had the following exchange with Sinn Fein TD Jonathan O’Brien:

Nóirín O’Sullivan: “Am I aware of any…”

Jonathan O’Brien: “Whistleblowers being put under surveillance?”

O’Sullivan:Absolutely not, deputy.”

O’Brien: “Ok, are you aware of any intelligence files being opened in relation to whistleblowers?”

O’Sullivan: “Deputy, I’m aware of suggestions in the media, and in public commentary, but I am personally not aware.”

Later

O’Brien: “And if there are intelligence files in relation to whistleblowers, will they also be handed over?

O’Sullivan: “Deputy, I believe there are no intelligence files but if Mr Justice O’Neill requires any access to any area of An Garda Siochana, he will be made fully aware, given full access.”

O’Brien: “Will you undertake to find out if there are any intelligence files in relation to whistleblowers?”

O’Sullivan:I am not aware of any intelligence files, deputy.”

In addition.

Readers may also recall how, on April 30, 2014 – at which point former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had already stepped down as Garda Commissioner on March 25 – then Independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan told the Dáil that earlier that day he had been to the offices of GSOC on Upper Abbey Street in Dublin 1.

Mr Flanagan said he went to GSOC, with Garda whistleblower John Wilson, because he had been approached under the Garda Síochána Act by a serving member of the Garda with a serious allegation of corruption within the National Drugs Squad.

He told the Dáil that, while they were in an Insomnia café, adjacent to the GSOC offices – the same café whose Bitbuzz wi-fi network was claimed to have caused one of the GSOC ‘bugging’ security issues – Mr Flanagan and Mr Wilson felt they were being followed by an unmarked Garda car.

During his response, Taoiseach Enda Kenny suggested maybe the gardaí thought someone was dealing drugs.

Mr Kenny was asked to withdraw the comment by several TDs, including Independent TD Mattie McGrath, Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin and then Independent TD Roisin Shortall, while the then Independent TD Finian McGrath called the remark ‘out of order’.

Mr Kenny did not withdraw the comment.

Listen back in full here

Related: Garda whistleblower: ‘Every day I’d put on the uniform, I just felt like vomiting’ (Francesca Comyn, Sunday Business Post)

Previously: Protecting Disclosures

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Pic: Trevor McBride/Irish Mirror

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Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald at the passing out ceremony for new gardaí in Templemore Garda College earlier today

From today you have full Garda powers. With such powers comes the great responsibility to use them appropriately, respecting the dignity of all persons you encounter in the course of carrying out your duties.

You have completed the first stage of what is a challenging and rigorous training programme and I congratulate you on that achievement. There is still much learning ahead of you before you are awarded your BA in Applied Police Studies.

In two weeks you will take up your assignments in Garda stations around the country. And I urge you to listen and learn from your tutors, assimilate their knowledge and experience, and use it to good effect as you serve local communities across this country.

Earlier I reminded myself of the principles of this great institution which has protected peace and security since the foundation of this State.

Honesty, accountability, respect and professionalism.

Principles are constant, they underpin everything you will do. But new ideas are the fuel that ensure these principles will continue to live and thrive and adapt to the realities of modern policing, an evolving police force, and a changing country.

So I urge you to bring your own fresh perspective and to share your ideas with your new colleagues across the Force.

The bond between An Garda Síochána and the community depends on trust and confidence. Public trust is earned by honesty, accountability, respect and professionalism. That is what the community expects from An Garda Síochána.

You will play an important role in your community and it is precisely because the service you will provide is so vital, so important to the well being of every citizen and our society as a whole, that you must ensure it is delivered to the very highest of standards.

The Report of the O’Higgins Commission of Inquiry identifies cases where standards were not met, where victims of crime were failed by An Garda Síochána.

That is as unacceptable as it is disheartening and we must take all actions open to us to ensure that these shortcomings are not repeated.

Victims must be at the heart of the Garda service.

In the past the needs of victims of crime have sometimes been overshadowed by a focus on apprehending and prosecuting perpetrators. We must ensure that our response to criminal behaviour is a comprehensive one while putting the needs of victims at the forefront.

I ask every one of you to think about what you can do to re-establish that trust and to ensure that victims of crime are well served when they come seeking your assistance and protection.

The Government is focused on bringing about improvements that will make An Garda Síochána the world class policing service that we all want it to be. To achieve this goal a number of reforms have taken place together with significant investment in resources.

Most significantly the new independent Policing Authority has been established to oversee the performance by An Garda Síochána of its functions relating to policing services. I look forward to the Authority playing an important part in the ongoing reform process.

Another important reform is in the law protecting whistleblowers. The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 ensures that there is a range of options open to those who want to report wrong doing. Now any Garda can have their complaints independently examined by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

These are just two examples of important reforms that have taken place. As I have said on many occasions, there is no end to reform for any organisation. Reform is an ongoing journey of practical and cultural change that can never cease. As members, you must be open to new thinking and embrace change.

From a speech given by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald at the passing out ceremony in Templemore earlier today.

Read the speech in full here

Previously: Maurice McCabe And The Plastic Rat

‘Nothing Has Changed’

Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews