Garda brings High Court challenge in bid to prevent his dismissal
Garda denies any wrongdoing despite internal Garda investigation findings
A Garda has launched a High Court challenge aimed at preventing his dismissal from the force.
The action has been brought by Garda Paul Mulcair, stationed at Kinsale Garda Station, Co Cork.
He was found following an internal Garda probe, to have breached Garda disciplinary regulations. The allegations against Garda Mulcair, who denies any wrongdoing, were that on dates between 2014 and 2017 he asked 10 persons from the community where he lived and policed for a total €140,300 and received €9,700.
Following an investigation into the allegations, a Board of Inquiry was convened by An Garda Síochána to determine if Garda Mulcair had committed a serious breach of discipline. Garda Mulcair accepted he had approached persons seeking to borrow money, which he said was repaid. One person who was asked by Garda Mulcair for a loan had allowed the garda to use the credit facility in his shop so he could buy food, the court heard.
The garda accepted he had written to one individual asking for money but denied asking that individual for €120,000 as alleged and said he had not requested a specific amount in his letter. In its decision of January 27th last, the board held the garda was in breach of garda discipline.
Garda Mulcair rejected the finding that he has used his position as a police officer for his own personal advantage, or that he could not carry out his duties because he was beholden to other persons. These findings were illogical and there was no evidence he had ever failed to properly carry out his duties, he said.
Arising out of its findings the board made a recommendation to the Garda Commissioner that Garda Mulcair, who is currently suspended from duty, be dismissed. Last August, the then acting Garda Commissioner John Twomey, having regard to the board’s recommendation, decided Garda Mulcair should be dismissed for two breaches and that he should resign in lieu of dismissal on five breaches.
The garda claims that the disciplinary process, which commenced in 2018 and concluded in January of this year, was flawed, that irrelevant considerations were taken into account and that he has not been treated fairly by the board.
He claims that on November 22nd last the three-person board said that having considered all matters it was in a position to deliver its decision.This announcement was made by the board before his solicitor, who was taken aback by this, had made submissions that the evidence did not support the allegations against the garda.
The garda claims that this action by the board amounted to a predetermination by the board of the allegations against him and has tainted the entire inquiry.
He also claims that he was prejudiced because the board heard allegations of events that occurred in 2013, which were not the subject of the investigation.
He further claims that no reasons were given by the Acting Commissioner for his decision.
He has brought judicial review proceedings against the Garda Commissioner where he seeks orders quashing the board’s findings, recommendations and the decision that he be dismissed or resign.
Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Mr Justice Charles Meenan.
The judge adjourned the matter to a date in December.