Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan have both urged Independent TD Clare Daly to make a formal statement of complaint to back up allegations she made about a serving Garda member shooting dead a civilian and then covering up the case.
Both Ms Fitzgerald and Ms O'Sullivan said the allegations could be reported to the Garda and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), which probes allegations of wrongdoing on the part of members of the force.
During Leader’s Questions on April 15th Ms Daly asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny about progress in the investigation.
“This is a question regarding a person who contacted the Taoiseach last year and told him he had information on gardaí being present in a room when a civilian was shot by gardaí and being ordered by his superiors to say he was not present,” she said at the time. Ms Daly complained the case had been sent to a panel reviewing cases of alleged Garda misconduct, but that nobody had contacted the person who supplied the information to include their testimony in the investigation of their allegations.
Mr Kenny told her that 300 cases were under review and that those carrying out the series of investigations had not completed their work.
Ms Daly was not available to The Irish Times for comment on the case.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) in Tullow, Co Carlow, Ms Fitzgerald said she had requested a report into Ms Daly's allegations.
However, she said the comments were made under Dáil privilege and that Ms Daly or any other Dáil deputy making such serious allegations had to be mindful of the responsibilities that came with Dáil privilege.
She said if Ms Daly had evidence, information or concerns about such serious allegations she should come forward and make a statement in order that a full investigation could be carried out by the Garda and/or GSOC.
“You have to be very careful about statements that are put forward,” she said.
“In the job I’m in, I often find that when you go to investigate, and I’m not speaking about that particular comment [by Ms Daly]; but when you go and look at the facts sometimes they are quite different.
“So the important point is for the public to know and everyone to be aware, that if people have information of a crime of that magnitude, and that seriousness; that if the evidence is available, if a complaint has been made, of course that will be followed up.”
Asked if that applied to Ms Daly in the context of her specific allegations, she said: “Of course it applies to Clare Daly, it applies to anybody who has information.”
“If they had serious information of a crime of that magnitude and they have evidence, I say to them ‘produce the evidence and that it will be investigated’. And of course I have, and will continue to make my own inquiries into that.”
Ms O’Sullivan broadly echoed those views but said while she was aware of Ms Daly making the allegation, she did not know of any shooting the allegations might relate to.
“If somebody wants to come forward and bring those allegations forward, we will certainly investigate them.
“But I think a matter of such seriousness, it would be appropriate if it was brought to the attention of GSOC.”
Ms O’Sullivan was asked if she believed Ms Daly should go to GSOC with the allegations she aired in the Dáil earlier this month.
She said: “I would encourage any member of the public, including any elected representative who has evidence or has suspicions of wrongdoing against members of An Garda Síochána; to bring it to GSOC or indeed, if they feel that that isn’t appropriate, that they bring it to myself.”