Former garda may have harvested information for Hutch gang

Two serving gardaí suspended pending outcome of inquiry

A criminal investigation into suspicions the Hutch organised crime gang was being supplied with information from within the Garda is examining whether a former senior officer used his influence to dupe serving members.

Garda sources said the senior officer had a relationship with members of the Hutch gang during his time on the force and it is suspected he maintained some of those contacts after he left the Garda organisation.

The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) is now trying to establish what information the former officer had about Garda operations stretching back a number of years; predating the Kinahan-Hutch feud and continuing during that dispute.

Garda investigators believe the former officer gleaned information about policing operations from serving Garda members he remained very friendly with. It is also suspected he asked some serving Garda members to make specific checks for him on Garda databases, without the serving gardaí being aware the information was intended for criminals.


Leaking suspicions

Last month, co-ordinated searches were carried out and the former senior officer was arrested. At that time, one of the serving gardaí suspected of leaking information to his now retired colleague was suspended. Last week, a second serving garda was also suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

"Two male members of An Garda Síochána in the Dublin region have been suspended from duty in connection with the ongoing investigation by GNBCI," Garda Headquarters in Phoenix Park said in reply to queries.

Informed sources said any release of information, even if the two serving gardaí never intended for it to go to Hutch gang members, would be a very serious matter. If the senior officer is found to have effectively harvested information from serving gardaí for supply to the Hutch gang, he will face significant charges of aiding a crime gang.

Arrest warrant

Some of the checks being made relate to whether Gerry Hutch knew a European Arrest Warrant had been issued for him by the courts in Dublin before it emerged publicly.

The investigation into the alleged release of information to the Hutch gang members is still in the evidence-gathering phase. No findings have been arrived at in relation to the retired former senior officer or the two serving members who are now both suspended.

A major trawl of telephone devices, phone records and computer devices and data now forms a key part of the investigation and is expected to take some time.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times