Garda inspector suspected of double-jobbing at Coolmore Stud is interviewed by detectives

AGSI member is accused of acting as a security consultant in his spare time

A Garda inspector who is accused of acting as a security consultant for Coolmore Stud in Tipperary in his spare time has been interviewed.

A Garda inspector who is accused of acting as a security consultant for Coolmore Stud in Tipperary in his spare time has been interviewed.

 

Officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) have interviewed a Garda inspector who is accused of acting as a security consultant for Coolmore Stud in Tipperary in his spare time.

The garda –who also holds a role in the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), which represents the interests of middle-ranking members – was questioned by investigators about allegations he advised the world-famous stud on security matters in a professional capacity and that he tested its alarm systems by transmitting false alerts to a nearby Garda station.

Coolmore, which is owned and run by the Magnier family, contains some of the most valuable thoroughbred racehorses in the world and is guarded by an extensive security operation.

The inspector was interviewed at the beginning of July. It is understood he came to the Garda station voluntarily and that he is co-operating with investigators. He has not been arrested or suspended and the allegations are as yet unproven.

Secondary employment

Under the Garda code, members are strictly forbidden from taking secondary employment in a wide range of jobs including in the security industry.

Allegations that the garda was doing security work for Coolmore first surfaced in 2016 and then again in 2017. It is alleged that on two occasions he was testing security procedures at the stud, including how long it would take gardaí in nearby Clonmel to respond to an incident there.

Security alerts were allegedly sent to Clonmel Garda station, causing gardaí to speed to the location using their lights and sirens.

There are two entries concerning false alarms at the stud on the Garda Pulse system. The incidents have also been the subject of a protected disclosure by a colleague of the inspector.

The NBCI inquiry is at an advanced stage, having started at the beginning of 2019. Officers have taken statements from colleagues of the inspector – including those who responded to the alleged false alarms – and the local superintendent.

The purpose of the recent interview with the inspector was to give him the opportunity to answer the allegations and put forward his own side of the story, sources said.

Considerable discord

The allegations against the inspector have caused considerable discord in higher levels of the AGSI, particularly at the time of the organisation’s annual conference in April, when several senior members objected to his involvement in the conference.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is understood to be aware of the allegations. Since taking office Mr Harris has deployed the NBCI to investigate several instances of alleged garda corruption and malpractice of varying degrees of seriousness due to the unit’s reputation for independence.

NBCI officers are leading the investigation in Limerick into three gardaí, including an inspector and superintendent, alleged to have had links to a criminal gang.

A dedicated anti-corruption unit is planned for later this year. The unit will be based in Garda Headquarters in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, and initial plans have already been drawn up and submitted by Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan.