Garda sanctioned over Áras an Uachtaráin intruder

An individual drove into the Áras grounds, entered the building and confronted the President

An investigation conducted by a senior garda found that the garda on duty had been negligent and he was subject to a monetary sanction. Photograph: iStock

An investigation conducted by a senior garda found that the garda on duty had been negligent and he was subject to a monetary sanction. Photograph: iStock

 

A Garda officer received a monetary sanction after letting an unauthorised person through the gates of Áras an Uachtaráin almost three years ago.

The intruder went on to gain access to the inside of the building and spoke to President Michael D Higgins in “an aggressive manner”, according to Gsoc’s 2020 annual report.

Gsoc commenced a public interest investigation into the incident after it was reported in the media in 2018 that there had been a security breach at Áras an Uachtaráin.

It was established that at 5.23pm on September 14th, 2018, a car was driven through an open gate into the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin without anyone challenging the driver.

The driver drove to the front of the Áras, stopped the car and walked into the Áras building through the front door, which was open.

The person tried to open several doors in the building before happening upon the President’s study. The President opened the door to the study and was confronted by the intruder.

According to the Gsoc report, the person spoke to the President “in an aggressive manner” about issues which concerned them.

The person was in the Áras for just over three minutes before the President went to call for help.

The person then returned to their car and drove back out through the Phoenix Gate without being challenged.

During the Gsoc investigation, it emerged that the gate had been left open to allow workmen to complete their tasks.

The garda on duty at the time of the incident noticed that internal doors in the lodge beside the gate were banging from the breeze.

“He decided to go and close the doors, an action which took a few seconds,” the report says. “He heard a car on the gravel as he was in the lodge and began to make his way back to the gate.”

The garda assumed that the driver of the car was a member of staff, as the car was similar to another staff member’s vehicle, so the intruder was let through.

“Less than ten minutes later, the same car drove back down the avenue and the driver had a hand raised as if in greeting,” the report said.

“The gate was still open as the workers were still there. [THE GARDA]acknowledged the driver who then drove out the gate.”

One of the President’s aides then rang the phone in the lodge, asking if a blue car had just left the grounds.

“The aide said that a person had just come into the Áras and had confronted the President and wanted to know who had let the person in.”

An investigation conducted by a senior garda found that his garda had neglected his duty and he was subject to a monetary sanction.