Senior gardaí accused of covering up Templemore irregularities

Garda HR head outlines significant concerns over financial practices at the college

Gardaí recruits during the passing out parade at the Garda College in Templemore in April. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Gardaí recruits during the passing out parade at the Garda College in Templemore in April. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Senior gardaí sought to cover-up financial irregularities at Templemore Garda College for decades, a senior civilian in the force has alleged.

Documentation compiled by John Barrett, the Garda’s head of human resources, outlines significant concerns surrounding the financial practices in the college.

Mr Barrett said large sums of money were managed and moved outside of the purview of the normal accounting structures of An Garda Síochána by way of 42 unauthorised bank accounts opened and managed by Garda personnel.

This process was understood over many years by those in roles charged with probity and “the entire edifice seems to have stood protected from enquiry while remaining in plain view”.

This was “not a function of omission but rather calculated occlusion”, Mr Barrett concludes in notes submitted to the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee.

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Commissioner pressure

The documentation increases pressure on Garda Commmissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, who has insisted she was not aware of the financial irregularities at the college until last year.

Mr Barrett said a meeting took place in July 27th, 2015 in Templemore College where his concerns surrounding the scale of the money involved were discussed with the Commissioner, Assistant Commisisoner John Twomey, Assistant Commissioner Donal O’Cualáin and former chief administration officer Cyril Dunne.

Ms O’Sullivan said there was a brief exchange over a cup of tea but Mr Barrett has contradicted that by claiming it was a two-hour meeting, ending at 7.37pm.

Mr Barrett claims there had been tangible efforts made to isolate his office since he first raised this issue internally and his professional influence within the organisation has since subsided.

A spokesman for the Garda said he had not seen the contents of Mr Barrett’s report but he noted “the Commissioner said at the press briefing that Mr Barrett had done the right thing in bringing forward issues of concern”, leading to the setting up of a working group to examine the matter.

Meanwhile, the Government agreed to appoint Kathleen O’Toole to chair a root and branch review of the Garda.

Ms O’Toole, former head of the Garda Inspectorate, was on the interview panel which appointed Ms O’Sullivan as Garda Commissioner.