Garda corruption inquiry in south widens to 30 members
Investigators trying to establish if older members coerced younger gardaí
Some of the gardaí initially suspected of passing information to criminal elements are now under suspicion for other matters. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty
A major investigation into alleged Garda corruption in the south has been significantly extended to examine the actions of up to 30 members of the force.
However, most of those Garda members whose roles are now being examined are not suspected of breaches of Garda discipline or criminal offences. The majority are expected to become witnesses against a small number of colleagues if evidence of alleged corruption is uncovered.
Investigators are trying to establish if efforts had been made by some older and more experienced Garda members to coerce younger gardaí, and those in less senior ranks, into actions that broke Garda rules and in some cases broke the law.
In a number of cases it is alleged that rank-and-file members of the force were effectively directed by others to interfere with Garda records in a way that ensured people caught committing motoring offences never faced justice.
In reply to queries, Garda Headquarters in Dublin said: “An Garda Síochána does not discuss ongoing investigations.”
An initial criminal investigation was established to determine if a small number of Garda members had been supplying information to a criminal gang in the south. That inquiry into the alleged leaking of information is continuing.
However, other spin-off inquiries are now under way into some Garda members in the same region. Some of the gardaí initially suspected of passing information to criminal elements are now under suspicion for other matters.
This includes allegedly manipulating Garda records, and other records relating to the criminal justice system, to ensure that the prosecution of some motoring offences was halted as favours to associates, including people in the GAA.
The investigation is trying to determine if favours were done within the force to ensure members of a particular GAA community in the south avoided being prosecuted or fined for motoring offences.
Detectives with the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation are trying to establish if, for example, the details of road traffic offences were never entered into official Garda records to ensure court proceedings never took place.
In other cases it is alleged records were manipulated in a way that ensured any cases already inputted into the Garda’s computerised records could not result in a conviction in the courts.
If, for example, the details of offences are never inputted into the Garda’s Pulse database, they effectively become nonexistent within the criminal justice system. If other records were not completed properly, prosecutions would effectively be derailed on technical grounds.
Series of searches
Detectives investigating the alleged corruption recently carried out searches in a Garda station in the south of the country. A number of premises linked to Garda members and civilians have also been searched.
The searches were carried out to determine if records existed that supported the allegation that interference in the recording of some offences meant the people accused of committing the offences never faced consequences.
Detectives have been searching for Garda records and those related to the courts system as possible evidence.
Furthermore, searches were also carried out in a bid to determine if records, including phone traffic, existed suggesting a small number of experienced and senior Garda members coerced or directed others gardaí in a way that helped their associates avoid fines and prosecutions.
While the actions of a large group of Garda members, as many as 30 according to some sources, were now being examined, the majority of those were expected to be treated as witnesses if evidence of the alleged wrongdoing was uncovered.