Garda inquiries were an insult to whistleblowers, TD says

Clare Daly criticises internal investigations into complaints against senior officer

Independent TD Clare Daly. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Independent TD Clare Daly. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

An Independent TD has claimed that the manner in which An Garda Síochána has conducted internal investigations into two related complaints of impropriety is an insult to the two whistleblowers concerned.

Dublin North representative Clare Daly has said the fact that gardaí have appointed the same high-ranking investigator to handle both complaints has serious implications, given that the first investigation was subject to a leak.

Ms Daly was speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme, which detailed controversies surrounding the investigations into separate complaints by two junior gardaí against a more senior officer.

One officer had alleged intimidation and bullying. It related to a complaint about the intervention of the senior officer after the complainant arrested another garda on suspicion of drink-driving.

The other garda made a serious complaint relating to this senior officer, alleging impropriety during a drugs investigation.

This Week reported that the first complainant made contact with the interim Garda confidential recipient Judge Patrick McMahon.

As a result of the judge’s examination and report, a senior Garda officer was appointed to investigate the allegations internally.

The whistleblower met the senior officer and was accompanied by a junior solicitor, who had no prior involvement in the case.

Following the confidential meeting, RTÉ reported that the solicitor discovered the senior officer who was the subject of the complaint had checked the solicitor’s page on the business networking site, LinkedIn.

When Garda top management was contacted about this apparent leak, it suggested that the whistleblower begin a new process with the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc).

Under new legislation, Gsoc has taken over the role and functions previously carried out by the confidential recipient and also has the responsibility for investigating complaints made by whistleblowers.

Internal inquiry

Earlier this year, another internal Garda inquiry commenced into the allegation against the same senior officer in relation to the handling of a drugs investigation.

This complaint was made by the other Garda whistleblower.

It emerged that the same senior officer had been appointed to conduct the new internal investigation as had been appointed to investigate the initial complaint.

Ms Daly told RTÉ that information from the first confidential internal investigation process had leaked to the officer who was the subject of a complaint, “without a shadow of a doubt”.

She said that, a year later, the same senior officer was appointed to head up the second internal investigation.

She described the development as serious and that it was tantamount to giving “two fingers”to the two gardaí who made the complaints.

Separately, she also contended Gsoc was under-resourced when it came to carrying out investigations into such complaints.