Garda homicide allegations were first raised over a year ago

Whistleblowers told politicians of concerns amid frustration with force’s management

Two Garda whistleblowers have been trying to raise their concerns in the Garda for over a year. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Two Garda whistleblowers have been trying to raise their concerns in the Garda for over a year. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Two Garda civilian members who believe some homicides were both misclassified and not investigated as they should have been have been trying to raise their concerns in the Garda for over a year.

They became frustrated at the lack of progress and so disclosed their allegations, in a lengthy dossier, to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice.

The two civilian Garda staff members believe a research project on homicides, prepared within the Garda by data analysts, was not acted on as it should have been.

They believe the report highlighted cases in which homicides were not fully investigated as such. And while they raised their concerns with senior Garda management several times, a disagreement emerged about the interpretation of the analysts’ research, The Irish Times has learned.

The two Garda civilian staff member became concerned that the full information on the misclassification of homicides available within the Garda was not being passed to the Policing Authority.

Repeated requests

This was despite the authority’s repeated requests, in public and private, for more information on misclassified homicides so the true extent of the problem of incorrectly recorded killings would be confirmed.

About two weeks ago, the two Garda civilians disclosed their concerns to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he was “extremely concerned” at allegations, first reported in The Irish Times on Friday, that some unlawful deaths, or homicides, were not properly investigated.

“Any substantiated allegations of this kind would be very serious and a cause of grave public concern,” he said.

The Garda, he said, had assured him even that though some homicide misclassifications had emerged last year all of the cases had been investigated as they should have been.

Mr Flanagan also stated he had not seen any protected disclosure outlining concerns on the issue.

It is understood that because the allegations have been submitted to a Oireachtas committee, rather than the Garda, the Department of Justice believes they do not fit the legal definition of a protected disclosure.

Frustration

However, the two Garda civilian staff members opted to approach politicians with their disclosure because their efforts to raise their concerns within the force for over a year had resulted in frustration.

The two Garda civilians met at least two members of the Oireachtas committee last week. Their allegations were contained in a dossier presented to the committee members.

Chair of the committee Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD (SF) could not be reached for comment last night about how the committee intended to deal with the issues now disclosed to it. Garda Headquarters declined to comment last night.

Senior Garda officers are set to be questioned about the growing homicides controversy at a sitting of the Policing Authority later this month.

Alan Kelly TD (Lab) said he believed the matters would now be dealt with by the committee and the Policing Authority, adding that needed to happen “as quickly as possible”.