Garda challenges decision made by Callinan when Garda commissioner
Garda says Callinan told him that if he did not resign he would be dismissed
The High Court has given leave for a challenge to decisions Martin Callinan made last January when he was still Garda commissioner. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
A Cork garda was told in January last by former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan that he would be sacked for breaches of discipline, including accessing the force’s Pulse records, the High Court was told yesterday.
Garda Colm O’Flaherty of Anglesea Street Garda station, Cork, was granted leave by Mr Justice Gerard Hogan to judicially challenge the then commissioner’s decision and a number of other proposed punishments, including suspension from duty and a cut in pay.
Kieran Kelly told the court that Mr Callinan had told Garda O’Flaherty that if he did not resign he would be dismissed from the force in relation to the alleged breaches of discipline. He said a number of allegations had been levelled at Garda O’Flaherty and, following a hearing by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, a board of inquiry had been set up to inquire into four alleged breaches of discipline.
Mr Kelly said the board had reported last September and, despite recommending a monetary fine, the commissioner had told Garda O’Flaherty to resign or be dismissed. The court heard that on September 4th, following negotiations and an agreement entered into with a Garda superintendent, who had been a member of the inquiry board, Garda O’Flaherty had entered guilty pleas as required to the discipline allegations against him.
The guilty pleas had been tendered in the specific circumstances where it was understood the superintendent involved had contacted Garda Headquarters and had obtained assurances.
The superintendent had assured Garda O’Flaherty’s solicitor that he had it “guaranteed from the top” that in the event of the guilty pleas, there would be only a monetary penalty.
Mr Kelly told the court that the former Garda commissioner had determined that the penalty for four of eight breaches of discipline should be that Garda O’Flaherty resign from An Garda Síochána in lieu of dismissal and in the event of his failure to do so he would be dismissed. He said no reasons had been provided by Mr Callinan for his decision.
Mr Justice Hogan said he would grant Garda O’Flaherty leave to seek to judicially review the decisions made against him. The court was satisfied that Garda O’Flaherty had raised an arguable case and granted a stay on any further procedures taking place arising out of the decisions taken.
The matter was adjourned to April 30th.