Claims Mick Wallace TD ‘assassinated character of gardaí’ in Dáil

Garda body says members co-operated with investigation into Clare Daly arrest

The association representing gardaí who arrested Clare Daly TD on suspicion of drunk driving has strongly rejected an allegation they failed to co-operate with an investigation into the case.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) said the gardaí presented voluntarily to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) to outline the events around the arrest of Ms Daly in Dublin in January 2013.

The lack of co-operation allegation has raised wider allegations that senior gardaí who might aid the investigation have been unavailable to Gsoc and that the Garda force has failed to comply with rules around surrendering information to the commission on request.

Similar allegations by Gsoc led to a major public dispute and political controversy two years ago when Alan Shatter was minister for justice and Martin Callinan Garda commissioner.


Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald will likely face questions about the allegations when they appear at a Garda passing out ceremony at the Garda College, Templemore, Co Tipperary, on Thursday.

Defending the role of its members in Ms Daly’s case, the GRA said it liaised with Gsoc on behalf of a number of witnesses of garda rank and organised for them to speak to the commission.

GRA representative for the Garda’s Dublin south central division, where the gardaí involved are based, Damien McCarthy said the allegations of non co-operation raised by Mick Wallace TD (Ind) in the Dáil were unacceptable.

“Their character and professional record has been assassinated,” said Mr McCarthy of the gardaí accused of non co-operation.

“We are not going to accept this. And we will be insisting that the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice takes up this matter.”

In the Dáil during questioning of Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Tuesday evening, Mr Wallace read a letter he said was from Gsoc that was sent to Ms Daly's solicitor outlining the reasons why the investigation of her complaints had taken so long.

Mr McCarthy said while the correspondence attributed the delays to non cooperation by some Garda members, neither his association nor its members had been given any indication their actions were problematic.

Ms Daly took a wrong turn in her car on the South Circular Road, south Dublin, on January 28th, 2013.

She was spoken to by gardaí and arrested on suspicion of drunk driving though later cleared.

She complained to Gsoc about the manner of her arrest and about the fact details of the incident appeared in the media.

Mr Wallace said the letter he read in the Dáil was Gsoc outlining to Ms Daly’s solicitor the reasons for the delay with that investigation.

As well as the allegation of non cooperation by some members of garda rank, it raises wider and more serious allegations against senior Garda officers and the force itself.

A spokesperson for Gsoc was unavailable for comment.

A section of the letter reads: “Unfortunately, the gardaí who were directly involved in the arrest have declined to voluntarily provide accounts or to cooperate with the GSOC investigation.

“We have also been unable to secure a meeting with the local district officer.

“I understand that he has been periodically unavailable for personal reasons. We have been attempting to arrange this meeting [for a long time].

“A number of letters and phone calls have gone unanswered since then, and consideration will now also be given to using the powers available to us under Section 39 of the Act to secure the cooperation which I consider to be necessary.

“We have also experienced delay on the part of the garda authorities in responding to general documentation requests.

“There is a protocol between Gsoc and the Garda Síochána as to how such requests are to be made and fulfilled.

“Under the agreement, the Garda Síochána has undertaken that ‘the information requested by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission will be made available as soon as practicable and in any event the information will be provided within 30 days’.

“Unfortunately, this undertaking has not been met. I am also aware that the garda authorities appointed a superintendent to carry out some level of internal enquiry as to the accessing of PULSE following the arrest of Deputy Daly.

“Thirty-three days have elapsed since I requested the identity of this superintendent, and access to documents obtained by him/her. At time of writing, I am still unaware as to the identity of the superintendent and do not know what level of enquiry he or she has conducted, the degree to which it might overlap the Gsoc investigation and I am still unaware as to whether the Garda Síochána is carrying out an investigation into any aspect of the arrest and the subsequent press coverage of same.

“This has the potential to impact adversely on the Gsoc investigation. At present, there are a still number of items which the garda authorities are refusing to supply to Gsoc. Further representations are being escalated to senior gardaí in accordance with the protocols between Gsoc and the Garda Síochána.

“These delays on the part of the garda authorities have inevitably and regrettably slowed the progress of the Gsoc investigation.

“Further efforts will be made by Gsoc to secure the requested material, and I will keep you apprised of any developments.”

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times