Further Garda whistleblower expected to come forward
Garda told he made ‘a fatal mistake’ in arresting colleague for drunk driving
Pearse Doherty: he confirmed he has met the garda who intends to give a file of his complaints to the acting Garda confidential recipient, retired judge Patrick McMahon, on Thursday. Photograph: Alan Betson
Another Garda whistleblower is expected to come forward this week with a claim that colleagues told him he had made “a fatal mistake” by arresting and charging another member of the force for drunk driving.
The man, who is a serving garda, is alleging that he came under pressure from within the force and was treated as a pariah by his colleagues after the arrest.
He contacted Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin TD for Donegal South West, earlier this year about the matter. Last night Mr Doherty confirmed he has met the garda who intends to give a file of his complaints to the acting Garda confidential recipient, retired judge Patrick McMahon, on Thursday.
One source familiar with the case said: “This man had a great career but everything changed for him after this arrest. On the night he brought the plainclothes garda in on this charge colleagues told him he had done the wrong thing. They said he had made a fatal mistake. He came under pressure immediately”.
The source said that after this particular arrest, the garda was investigated internally for the number of drink driving arrests he was making. “They came down on him like a sledgehammer but he refused to back down,” the source said.
The drink-driving charge against the plainclothes garda was adjourned a number of times in court and was ultimately struck out on a legal issue by a District Court judge.
It is understood the garda decided to go public about the case last week. Mr Doherty is likely to use Dáil privilege to put the garda’s identity and allegations on the record.
The arrest at the centre of this case took place during a routine Garda checkpoint in the midlands when the garda involved carried out a roadside alcohol test on an off-duty detective. He then arrested the detective on suspicion of drunk driving. The suspect was tested at the local station and found to be over the legal limit. He was subsequently charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. The two gardaí knew each other and the arresting garda claims that the detective was unhappy about the arrest.
Former garda John Wilson, who has come to public notice as a Garda whistleblower, said he is aware of at least two other serving members of the force who are considering coming forward with new allegations of bullying and illegal behaviour.
He said one of these, based in the south, is alleging that malicious prosecutions were brought by gardaí against individuals. He said he had spoken to this man very briefly last month and to another garda in the midlands. Both of them are still considering whether to advance their complaints.