AGSI head resigns as investigation of alleged private security job goes on

NBCI investigating claims inspector worked as security consultant for Coolmore Stud

AGSI general secretary, Inspector John Jacob, handed in his notice to Garda headquarters last week. Photograph: Lorraine Teevan

AGSI general secretary, Inspector John Jacob, handed in his notice to Garda headquarters last week. Photograph: Lorraine Teevan

 

The head of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) is to retire from the force and the association.

AGSI general secretary, Inspector John Jacob, handed in his notice to Garda headquarters last week.

He is currently under investigation by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) over allegations he worked as a private security consultant for Coolmore Stud, the world-famous horse breeders based in Tipperary, and used Garda resources to test its security systems.

It is understood Insp Jacob co-operated with investigators. He has not been arrested or suspended and the allegations are as yet unproven.

The inspector’s retirement means he will also step down as AGSI general secretary, which represents the interests of middle-ranking members, a role he has held since 2016.

Senior AGSI members were informed of the move on Friday by the association’s president Cormac Moylan. He said it would be discussed at the next meeting of the national executive.

Legally problematic

Insp Jacobs will have to work out the mandatory three-month notice period, although may leave sooner if he has annual leave built up.

It is not known if the NBCI investigation will continue after Insp Jacob’s retirement.

It is technically within the power of Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to refuse a garda permission to retire if they are under investigation. However, this is viewed as legally problematic in cases where the garda has completed more than the required 30 years’ service, as is the case with Insp Jacob.

Last year Superintendent David Taylor was allowed retire on a full pension shortly after he was severely criticised in the report of the Disclosures Tribunal for lying to the tribunal and the High Court, and for helping to smear Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Allegations Insp Jacob was doing security work for Coolmore first surfaced in 2016 and then again in 2017. It is alleged that on two occasions he was testing security procedures at the stud, including how long it would take gardaí in nearby Clonmel to respond to an incident there.

Security alerts were allegedly sent to Clonmel Garda station, causing gardaí to speed to the location using their lights and sirens.

There are two entries concerning false alarms at the stud on the Garda Pulse system. The incidents have also been the subject of a protected disclosure by a colleague of the inspector.

Forbidden

Under the Garda code, members are strictly forbidden from taking secondary employment in a wide range of jobs including in the security industry.

The NBCI inquiry is at an advanced stage, having started at the beginning of 2019. Officers have taken statements from colleagues of the inspector – including those who responded to the alleged false alarms – and the local superintendent.

Insp Jacob was interviewed by investigators about a month ago.

The allegations have caused considerable discord within AGSI senior management. Two senior members of the association refused to take part in its annual conference earlier this year in part because of the investigation.

At the time Insp Jacob said AGSI did not know the details of the allegations, adding: “What we have to remember is that the person who is being allegedly investigated is entitled to anonymity. It is only fair that due process is allowed to take its place.

“It will be up to the persons themselves to if they want to come forward,” he told RTÉ Radio.

Neither AGSI or Insp Jacob have returned requests for comment this week.